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Kokoro Tokyo Mazesoba – Kerrisdale

It is so nice to have so many locations of Kokoro available for those, like me, who get intense cravings for their one of a kind noodles. Not ramen, not udon, but a mix of both in a saucy, yet dry noodle.

Today we were at the Kerrisdale location, a first for us. The setting is much like their others with wooden furnishing and dried florals.

We sat down to order, always looking through the entire menu, only to choose our favourites.

We started off with some appetizers, the Ebi Mayo our go-to. Deep fried crispy shrimp tempuras served with a Japanese honey mayo sauce. The fluffy batter surrounding the shrimp is what sets it apart. Light and airy, a great texture to contrast the sweet cream sauce that is drizzled over it, and what gives it its taste.

The Ninja Gyoza is a fun one too. Pan fried crispy gyoza topped with Kokoro’s minced meat sauce. The result are dumplings given an extra crunch with spicy bits and freshness from the green onion. A new way to enjoy the familiar stuffed pork dumpling.

This is one of the many sides you can tack on to a specific full rice or noodle bowl, in order to make it a combo.

For entrees we have been craving their newest noodle: the Carbonara Mazesoba which is a loose translation of Japan-Italian fusion. Thick saucy, thick, and chewy noodles covered in a white cream sauce; similar to Alfredo, especially with the heavy grating of salt and pepper. Slow-Braised Pork Chashu, Runny Egg Yolk, Spinach, Onion, Japanese Carbonara Cream Sauce, Black pepper, Sesame, Permesan cheese, and Multi-Grain Noodle made in house. There is so much going on in this bowl with a great bounty of seasonings and toppings. Mixed in, the egg really binds it all together.

If you are like me you have gone ahead and ordered the XXL bowl at no additional cost. Same serving, just more noodles to go around. Although after a few bites the serving, things do get monotonous. And that is why they have instructions on how to eat your Mazesoba at every table. Not only do these tips add flavour, but it also adds longevity to your meal, allowing you to eat more without becoming bored of one solid taste. (This is something that I find happens with me when I am eating a larger serving of food).

Between adding vinegar for acidity and tang, this helps to keep things fresh with more depth, playing off the raw green onions and chopped red onions. You can also add chilli flakes for some taste changing heat.

And you can also ask for a serving of rice on the side, a small scoop that is included with each mazesoba bowl. All the saucy bits act as a gravy for the rice, thus changing the taste and mouthfeel.

I personally like adding on their Mini Chashu Rice Bowl for that very reason. This is a side serving of rice to give you a break from your noodles, and to keep you coming back for more. This break comes in a more simple serving of Slow-Braised Pork Chashu, Green Onion, and Rice. The meat is torched slightly for a crispy and pleasant sweet soy glaze. Having the extra pieces of meat here is nice to add back into the Carbonara Mazesoba, because although you get more noodles, you don’t get more toppings, and sometimes you just want more meat.

Another way to help elongate and rejuvenate your meal is by way of their drinks. I have never eaten at any of their restaurants without ordering one. And right now from March 16 to April 16, 2024 exclusive to the Kerrisdale location, any student with valid ID can get any drink for 99 cents (provided they order at least a regular bowl of Mazesoba, rice, or ramen first). Regularly the drinks vary from $6.25 to $7.45, so you are saving quite a bit at 99cents a glass.

My go-to is the Japanese crown melon milk. I find it ideal as a palate refresher. It offers a sweet mouth cleanse, yet is neutral enough that it doesn’t take away from the salty and garlicky meal before you.

If you want some caffeine, go for the Tokyo iced milk tea, brewed with Japanese premium black tea.

And for the feel of a strawberry milkshake get their Strawberry latte that includes fresh puréed strawberries at the bottom of your cup, that you stir up. It is mostly milk, with the fresh sweet syrupy fruit helping to cut into the grease of the fatty noodles.

For more food, we also got the Chicken Karaage Rice Bowl, as something different, and to be able to make it a combo with the Ninja Gyoza above. Minced Meat (Pork & beef), Green Onion, Greens, Fried Chicken, Runny Egg Yolk, Soft Boiled Egg, Seaweed Flakes, Bamboo Shoot, Seaweed, Mayonnaise, and Rice. Much like the soba noodles, but with rice as your base. And with the sheets of seaweed we used it as the base for a mini wrap of sorts.

The chicken was juicy and well prepared, not greasy from the fry. There was also a generous amount of chicken for even bites to have with all the rice underneath. I appreciated the appearance of two different types of eggs. The soft boil as a staple for such bowls, and the yolk to sauce things up. I will also note the quality of the eggs they use, as seen by the deep orange hue in each yolk pictured. Then when the serving got heavy and I felt I needed to add some freshness into the mix, I reached over for the vinegar, to once again follow the instructions on how to eat Mazesoba, but with rice.

And for dessert we had their Fuji Japanese cheese cake. This is another possible combo item. This is Japanese style, light and fluffy cheesecake with an Oreo crumb base. The texture is whipped creamy like a soft pudding meets mouse. The Oreo crumb is mashed up fine to match the overall mouthfeel. Not very sweet, we found our drinks sweeter. I would have liked this on its own, as I found it a too gentle end to conclude our meal on. Considering all the punchy flavours above, I wanted to end dessert on a bang. Although, didn’t necessarily think that this matched with the rest of our meal, or acted as a good transition down from it.

In closing, it is always a delicious time at any Kokoro location and I will definitely be back to any of them.

Kokoro Tokyo Mazesoba – Kerrisdale
2285 W 41st Ave, Vancouver, BC V6M 2A3
(604) 326-2965

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