Posts Tagged ‘ramen’

Sokyo Ramen Pop-up, Pyrmont

I read about the pop up ramen store in the good food supplement in the newspaper. Now that I’m working a few days in the city, it was a perfect opportunity to catch the tram over and increase my week’s opal travel card trip count.

This area of the casino has certainly changed. I remember when it was nothing but a rather sad sports bar, and a long corridor plus wall shielding the gambling on the other side.

I actually ordered the same stuff as was recommended in the article.

Yuzu Shio Ramen ($15) and Yuzu pop soda ($6):

Yuzu shio ramen

The blurb says:

Chicken & Katsuobushi dashi, yuzu & mixed green salad, pork cheek chashu, marinated egg, nori, yuzu kosho, noodle soup.

This was disappointing. Perhaps the broth wasn’t hot enough, but I found the slight sheen of oil on top of the broth kind of unpleasant. I didn’t really pick up any of the yuzu flavour in the broth; it was very light, almost as if it was chicken based. The nori seaweed sheet that was stuck to side of the bowl had been stuck with the yuzu based pickle (yuzu kosho), which actually made the nori taste yucky. Perhaps I was supposed to stir this into the broth? The ramen was quite firm with that al dente bite. I never really noticed this until I read Michael’s impressive post for the search about the best (tonkotsu) ramen in Sydney. Do you think he’s still hungry?

The Yuzu pop soda is described as Yuzu, passionfruit, aloe vera juice, Orgreat almond syrup, soda;

This was not as sweet as I had been expecting. Perhaps they had toned the recipe down since the reviewer had visited?

For interest, the Umami tonkotsu 2.0 ramen ($16), and watermelon juice ($6.5):

Share from Pixlr

The blurb says: Pork, chicken & seafood dashi, pork back fat, umami soy kaeshi, pork cheek chashu, black fungus, marinated egg, nori, yuzu kosho, noodle soup.

Mai-san’s fried chicken ($9):

Mai-san's fried chicken

The spicy mayo wasn’t. The fried chicken were small bite sized pieces, nothing to rave about, but nothing offensive about it.

All the drinks were icy cold, like they had been pre-made, sealed in the plastic cup, and refrigerated.

My dining companion said that the tonkotsu ramen was fine, he was just a bit disappointed with the quantity for the price.

I took the leftover broth with me, as always, and had it later with some rice.

Sokyo Ramen pop up

Sokyo ramen pop up
Street: Level G, Star City Food Court (South side of the complex)
(Open until end November 2015)
Sun – Mon: 1130-2100
Tue – Thu: 1130-2230
Fri – Sat: 1130 – 2300

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Blancharu Ramen, Elizabeth Bay (Closed)

By night, this place is a modern one hat Japanese fine diner.

By weekday lunchtime it hosts a ramen house, run by chef Harunobu Inukai (Haru). About half the restaurant, including the bar area is available for seating. To add to the informal atmosphere, you need to return your dishes to the kitchen at the end of your meal.

When we visit the place is full with Japanese who have heard the goss. In fact the only Caucasians we spot are Terry Durack and Joanne Saville!

There is a A3 sized menu of ramen which offers stock based on either a natural salt or a specially selected soy sauce base. The flavourings include as-is, three kinds of oil/fragrances, black (sesame) oil and chilli oil. The accompaniments include wood ear fungus, nori seaweed sheets, bamboo shoots, bean sprouts and soya egg. You can even order extra slow cooked pork or noodles.

We order No. 3 Ramen ($12.50), and No. 15 Ramen ($14). As sides, we get 3 pieces of Kara-age chicken ($3) , and a hometown snack of chef Haru: pork, leek and miso Okayi ($5). I can’t resist a can of Pokka crisp apple cider ($2)

The okayi:

Pork, leek and miso Okayi

It is interesting, and probably very much a comfort food if you have grown up eating it. The outside is thick and gummy in texture – like a moochi or a big rice ball. The inside is layered with the pastry and tastes very strongly of leek. The pork is finely shredded – I like the texutre. The outside is a little bit oily, probably to prevent it from sticking to the plastic cling wrap.

The sparkling apple cider is a medium brown colour with caramel undertones. It is nice and refreshing:

Pokka Sparkling Apple Juice

Ramen No. 3 is a natural salt base in Paitan soup with slow cooked pork, bean sprouts, bamboo shoots, shallots, wood ear fungus, nori and egg:

No. 3 Ramen

As the stock is chicken based it is quite light in flavour and texture. Unfortunately, during my first bowl I detect a slight ‘off” taste, similar to meat that is about to spoil. The bamboo shoots are slightly darker than the vacuum packed ‘fresh’ shelf stable product I’ve seen for sale in the shops. I wonder if it has been pickled or soaked in soy sauce. It has almost a bitter flavour. As you eat through the bowl, you’ll notice that the soup becomes less, and the noodles become thicker as they absorb the broth. The pork is sweet and rich with a soy sauce flavour and not too dry. It looks like a pork belly cut, but is not too fatty.

No. 15 is cold dipping ramen noodles with a thick soy flavoured and slow cooked pork, bamboo shoots, nori, egg and bean sprout:

No. 15 Ramen

You get an urn shaped ramekin of miso- salty dipping sauce with black oil floating on top. It is hard to detect the sesame flavour: I think it is more the granular texture and coating that is the purpose of this dish. The pieces of bamboo shoot are huge, after a while they get a bit too much.

The Karrage chicken:

Light and crispy, it tastes of all things saturated fat and terribly bad for you. It tastes like ‘popcorn chicken’.

I defiantly have to go back and try some of the other ramen flavours available.

Blancharu Ramen Pop Up
street: Shop 1, Elizabeth Bay Rd Elizabeth Bay NSW 2011
web: Blancharu
Monday-Thursday
Lunchtime only, 1200-1400

Post-post note: As of 2013, Chef Haru has sold Blancharu and is shifting to Sussex Street food court with his ramen. The new store is called Ramen Ikkyu

Sura Ramen, Ton Ton Noodle Takeaway

Once again, I’m eating ramen. I have *got* to get out more.

I really wanted a sharp Kaiso salad from sushisuma. However, I was in town and didn’t feel like traveling too far afield.

I had a look at Shalom Indonesian restaurant – I’m convinced that the branch on Pitt Street Chinatown offered Murtabak, but the shop on Sussex Street appeared to offer ordinary indo fare and it didn’t appeal, not tonight.

So I ended up back at Ton Ton noodle takeaway in Regent Place.

Sura ramen is described as: “a sweet and sour ramen with chilli oil”, and upon presentation it was quite gelatinous. It had a similar texture to Chinese shark fin soup.

As I ate, the sour hot broth became thicker, like the noodles were secreting wheat into the broth. It was very moreish, with sliced spring onions, wood ear fungus, soft silken tofu and one or two pieces of sliced pork or bacon. However, by the end of the dish I had gotten sick of the samey sour taste, and I had to leave the last few mouthfuls behind.

Ton Ton Noodle Takeaway Regent
Ground Floor
501 George St (lumiere building, corner Bathurst St)
Sydney 2000
Ph: 02 9267 1313
Fax: 02 9267 9995
1130 – 2200, everyday

Ryo’s Noodles, take two

No sooner had I blogged about my my first visit to Ryo’s Noodles, then I managed to arrange to meet up for lunch with my friend Sarah. Destination: Ryo’s Noodles!*

This time, the queue at 1pm was a little longer, but we still got our seats at the bar within 20 minutes.

Eyeing off the Top 5 menu, this time I chose No. 3: “Hot and Spicy Ramen with pork, soya egg, scallions”, and Sarah chose the “Miso Ramen with pork, half soya egg scallions, ”, and of course the pork rice ball and the cod roe rice ball. On reflection, we ought to have chosen the “pickle rice ball” instead of the latter, since I was there to try new things. Next time.

The ramen came out first, and we dug in, with the rice balls coming out a few minutes later. Apparently there were no knives available to split the rice balls, and so I had a go of hacking the rice balls into two pieces with my very blunt chopstick. The pork rice ball was as good as I remember, the perhaps we had left the cod roe rice ball too long on the plate – it didn’t have those cold pearls of salty goodness bursting in your mouth – it appears the roe got cooked from the heat of the warm rice.

The thing that I noted most (and missed most!) was the slice of seaweed that adorned most other ramen dishes. The hot and spicy flavour was nice, cutting through the oiliness of the tokotsu broth. Which started congealing in pools almost as soon as the bowl arrived!

The other thing that I noticed was that although both ramen dishes came with soya egg, the Miso one only had half an egg rather than the whole one of the hot and spicy flavour. Midway, we swapped, and Miso flavour in comparison tasted like sucking miso paste off a spoon. The flavour was so strong!! Whilst I was eating this one, I said that I preferred the hot and spiciness of my own, but of course once I switched back, I couldn’t handle the broth anymore. Sarah did like her Miso one – I guess it is a case of what you get used to, or what dish turns up first. She agreed on the deliciousness of the pork rice ball, and the almost creamy tuna-like quality.

Next time, I think I would have to try the Soy Ramen (No. 2 on the Top 5, I think). You get a simpler taste of salt/soy rather than the overpowering taste of Miso.

In other news: I have found two better stockists of the Sonoma bread on the north shore.

1. Taste Organic (145 Falcon Street, Crows Nest), here, stocks Sonoma, with only a small markup on the direct-bakery price (39cents on a loaf of soylin). Not only that, but it is just up the road from Ryo’s.

2. Thomas Dux (13-19 Willoughby Road Crows Nest), owned by Woolworths. I must’ve been blind not to see this one whilst walking up Willoughby Road last time. They stock Sonoma, Brasserie Bread and Byron Bay Bread. Yummo!

*this shows you just how long it takes me to get around to writing some of these posts. Not all the time though.

Review: Ton Ton Noodles, Regent Place


Ton Ton Noodles

Originally uploaded by A Sydney Foodie

My sister had been raving about this place, and how they had a salad very similar to the Kaiso Salad at Sushisuma which I am so fond of.

We got here at prime time on a Friday night, and tables were hard to find. People were lurking, territorially over the heads of people who were leisurly slurping the last of their matcha green tea milkshakes from the café. The head of Azuma, was surveying his domain, ensuring that all customers had a place to sit: whether it be in the Noodle area, or in the café next door.

We ordered Nagasaki Chambon ($12.80), with the addition of a boiled egg ($2), and black sesame ramen. Service was quick, and luckily we had snaffled a table.

The Nagasaki Chambon was the standout favourite – delicious and moreish. It came with chinese cabbage, wood ear mushroom, prawn, bean sprouts, a prawn, a few pieces of katsu chicken, and the broth was rich and tasty I couldn’t stop eating!. The black sesame ramen was interesting: It came with a quick splash of a black, almost oily, sesame “sludge”. In comparison, the broth seemed almost plain. I suspect that the diner is supposed to swirl the sesame sludge around throughout the broth, but we didn’t for fear of making everything taste the same.

I visited again on a Wednesday night, and what a contrast to the Friday night! Tables were much easier to get, and there was a steady stream of takeaway customers. The Nagasaki Chambon didn’t seem as delicious as last time, it seemed almost plain and boring.

There is an interesting meal deal you can get: any $9.80 ramen dish, plus hand roll and gyoza, for a total of $12.50 There is also beer (Asahi and Sapporo), and BYO for a $2 corkage per person fee.

You know what? Looking at the history of the place, I think I have been here before! Was this the Japanese restaurant in Crows nest, where you got to eat like a sumo wrestler, and grind up your own sesame seed dipping sauce??

Ton Ton noodles
Regent Place, corner George and Bathurst Street, Sydney City (underneath the Lumiere building).
11am – 10pm last service, daily.

Review: Ryo’s Noodles

Having read Notquitenigella’s review of Ryo’s noodles, I thought that on my monthly food safari day, I should seek them out.

Ryo Tei

Despite having turned up at 1210 on a Friday, the place was already full, and the queue outside was a mix of the local Tafe staff and chinese. Approximately a 10 minute wait on Falcon Street, before we were shown inside to the bar. The place inside was tiny! It looked like a Victorian terrace, that had then been converted to something like a dry cleaners (as evidence by the rails hanging from the ceiling). Even the gas light fittings were still present. The lighting inside was quite dim, and the walls were painted a pastel yellow. They even have a “top 5” blackboard on the wall, listing the most popular dishes.

I had to get the Miso Bolognaise, since NQN says that she hasn’t seen this elsewhere. We also tried the cold (ramen) noodle salad, and a cod fish roe rice ball, and a pork rice ball to start off with, since they sounded interesting.

The rice balls ($4.50)were delicious, wrapped in two nori sheets with corners of rice peeking through. So big, they almost overflowed the saucer that they were presented on. The pork was the favourite here – the meat itself was minced so finely, it was almost like tuna, or tuna confit. The cod roe rice ball had hot pink flecks of roe throughout, and you got little salty bursts of cooked roe as you bit into it, and the rice balls were still warm.

Ryo's Miso Bolognaise Ramen

The mains arrived not long after. The miso bolognaise (described as: Ramen dish with miso bolognaise sauce, $13), came with the “miso” sauce – mincemeat, shitake mushrooms, and after much investigation, pickled bamboo. A big pile of ramen noodles, sprinkling of spring onions and a soya sauce egg. It was a delicious, but very rich dish, and I found I had to return several times to my dish of pink ginger pickles to relieve my mouth of the taste.

Ryos Cold Noodle Salad

Ryos Cold Noodle Salad

Cold noodles are apparently the way to test the authenticity of the noodle. The cold noodle salad ($13) came with cucumber strips, strips of tonkotsu pork, corn, the soya sauce egg, a slice of seafood extender, and a light dressing. Plus a huge knob of hot english mustard on the side.This dish was really really light and flavoursome, without being rich and overbearing like my miso bolognaise. The ramen noodles had that perfect al-dente mouth feel. There are two kinds of cold noodle on the menu, one served with the dipping sauce separate, and one all combined, which is what we got.

Would love to go again, and try something on the top-5 menu – even for the chance to have the cold noodle salad dish to hog to myself.

Ryo’s Noodles (Ryo Tei)
125 Falcon Street, Crows Nest
Open Thursday – Sunday 12noon – 2pm, 6pm-9pm. I think.