Bunny Bar, located on 109 Fitzroy St in St Kilda, is the place to be. With its neon decor, comfortable seating and 80s music, it’s the perfect place to have a casual barbeque experience with your mates.
We were lucky enough to go to their RAMAGEDDON night: a bi-weekly Thursday night event that celebrates traditional American barbeque smoking techniques, whilst fusing them with all our favourite flavours from Japan.
The idea originated from Niseko, a northern Japanese alpine region, where Matt Giles (the man behind some of our favourite vegan places, including Future Sushi and Green Burger) had been operating a smokehouse barbeque bar. Then Covid happened, and Matt decided to stay closer to home, and Bunny was born.
We paid them a visit. The cosy red interior, serviced by warm staff, was a welcome change from the cold winter night. We were seated in a comfortable booth area and given the menu.
It’s a straightforward menu. Think ramen x ribs: a fusion of American and Japanese cuisine at its finest. To drink, we chose a Japanese beer and a Bombay Yuzu Spritz. The beer was refreshing: a Japanese lager that made for easy drinking. The Yuzu Spritz was equally appealing: sweet without being overpowering.
Next up were the appetizers: an assortment of pickled items, my favourites being carrot and pickles, as well as edamame, which were smoked with truffle and soy. They were undoubtedly the best edamame I’ve ever had. They were so good I was tempted to eat the skin!
They were followed by the main event: ramen. Not just any ramen. American barbeque fusion ramen. We’re talking umami smoked brisket, shiitake dashi broth, grilled corn cob, bok choy. What stood out to me was the strength of the vegan option: it was a mushroom ramen that delivered. Sweet, spicey and hot, it left nothing to be desired. Worth noting were the oyster scallops that accompanied the dish. Premiered by Matt, they were like vegan crack: succulent, juicy, and full of flavour.
The brisket ramen was equally as good, with tender and soft ribs. As a vego, I didn’t give it a shot, but my partner reported good things: “I loved the broth and how it paired with the ribs. It was unique, I’ve never had anything like that before. I’d definitely come back.”
The charred corn cob is also worth a mention. Coated with gochujang mayo, wonton crumbs and pecorino, it was the perfect essence of Bunny Bar: a fusion that hit the spot.
It was clear that there had been a lot of attention paid to all elements of the meals: the flavours paired perfectly, the plating was inviting, and the ramen was filling. So filling, in fact, that we couldn’t finish the meal.
That being said, we still left space for dessert: a Japanese trifle with cream, raspberries, chocolate, and grape jelly. Sweet, creamy and light, without being overpowering, it was a beautiful way to tie the night together. I’m still thinking about that chocolate middle: yum.
If you’re missing travel and looking for a way to enjoy the best parts of Japanese and American cuisine, I’d recommend Bunny Bar. Their RAMAGEDDON night was an excellent time, and as it was fully booked out, I’d say others agree too. If you’re interested, hop on their website and book a spot. If Thursday nights don’t work for you – don’t worry, you can enjoy Bunny Bar’s delicious menu from Wednesday through to Sunday. Check out their website for more info – who knows, I might even see you there!
Daniela Koulikov is a freelance writer who loves ramen, mushrooms and a good night out on the town.
If you’re ready to dive into ramen and ribs, or if you want to check out their plant-based section, take a look at Bunny Bar’s website.