Sunday, June 19, 2016

Rising Sun Workshop, Newtown - Ramen, Coffee, Motorcycles and More

The wait is over! Newtown's favourite communal workshop and eatery Rising Sun Workshop is back and opening this Monday, 20 June 2016! Bigger, more awesome and at a permanent location! After over a year and 8 months ago since their pop-up closed, Nick Smith (owner and head chef) and team will re-open at a newly transformed warehouse/garage on Whateley St.

The new space has a mixture of Scandanavian and industrial interior. There's communal tables, bar seatings and a lot of beautiful natural lighting upstairs. Downstairs, there's a few seatings for two and and a long counter seating where you can watch all the kitchen action. Along with the bigger shop comes a menu with more choices than their pop-up. Their menu is Pan Asian based with a majority of Japanese-inspired dishes. The breakfast selection includes Hokkaido milk bun dishes, a vegan furikake rice dish, a Bangkok inspired pork belly & egg dish and a breakfast ramen. Nick's famous ramen offerings are back for lunch with the addition of a kids bowl ramen ($6 with a choice of 2 toppings) and some side snacks like gyozas. For dinner, they will be serving up kushiyaki dishes and some Japanese inspired drinking snacks. There will be a wide range of booze for dinner too. I was invited to their soft launch to have a sneak peek at their lunch menu. 

Carrot cake

Their resident baker Dimity Genaus is behind all their amazing baked goods available for breakfast and lunch. I tried their carrot cake ($7.50) and was blown away! It had a divine burnt butter cream cheese icing, it wasn't dry and had a good amount of walnuts throughout the cake.   
Flat white

Sesame and honey milkshake
Then there's Dan Cesarano who is the expert coffee dude that calls the shots when it comes to their coffee and beverages. They use a blend custom made by Single O Roasters called The Workshop blend. It's perfect for a flat white. Beautiful notes of milk chocolate, caramel and spice punches through the milk. They also have this awesome large serving of sesame and honey milkshake ($7)
The Light

First dish I tried was The Light ($17) ramen. It's a shio (salt) based double soup broth with springy ramen noodles, kurobuta belly chashu, menma, pickled mushroom, greens (kale in this case), green onion, and the best ajitama (marinated soft-boiled egg) I've had in Sydney. The perfect ajitama was super flavoursome and the yolk was runny. The shio tare has been tweaked and made the broth extra special. So besides the notes of chicken and fish, you also get hints of smoky and crisped flavours with some umami in the light broth. It's a good thing the broth is light because the big slab of chashu is fatty, rich and flavoursome! The light ramen is a perfectly balanced bowl of ramen. This has gotta be the best shio-based ramen I've had in Sydney to date.
The Dark

The Dark ($17) is also back! It's a shoyu (soy) based ramen with a chicken and pork broth. Toppings include kurobuta belly chashu, menma, black fungus, pickled shroom, onsen egg, green onion and nori. 

Gyozas ($6-8) are awesome with ramen! Though I prefer more ginger in my gyoza fillings, these were still packed with flavour and it had good caramelised crust. The dipping sauce was on point. 
Pork Banh Mi

Another guest says his Banh Mi was great. It had grilled kurobuta pork belly, pigs head and lime terrine, patĂȘ, pickles, corriander, chilli and mayo ($12).
Smoked eggplant omelette

Their smoked eggplant omelette ($8) dish was sensational! Super smokey with corriander and pickled chilli. You need to order this!

I can't wait to go back to try their dinner offerings which includes a range of kushiyaki (dubbed as "sundown sticks") choices like chicken wings, pork belly, and octopus. Also, word is that there will be some secret surprises coming up for dinner in the near future.

Ramen Raff was invited by Rising Sun Workshop as a guest. 

Rising Sun Workshop
1C Whateley Street
Newtown NSW

Eatery hours:
Breakfast and Lunch open 7 days from 8am to 4pm
Dinner Thurs-Sat 6pm to 10pm

Rising Sun Workshop Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Ryo's Noodles, Bondi Junction

I love that we have awesome ramen offerings in Sydney. Everything from Tokyo-style Chukasoba to black garlic tonkotsu ramen, Sydney has it all covered. Some of them are just a bit far for me to visit. Take the Ryo's Noodles original Crows Nest shop for instance. But last year, the OG of Sydney Ramen has decided to branch out to Bondi Junction. 

Ryo's Bondi Junction also has everything that the Crows Nest shop has on offer. Expect classic tonkotsu and Tokyo-style broths with different bases. There's also rice curry dishes, gyozas, karaage chicken and rice balls on offer. The interior even looks like their original shop. Complete with scrolls of Japanese scripts hanging on their signature yellow wall. 

Now, let's talk about the food:
Gyozas ($7) and ramen are just the perfect combo. You can't go wrong with Ryo's gyozas. They are perfectly cooked with that nice caramelised crust. The pork is very flavoursome with sweet notes from the ginger and garlic. 

I tried their miso based tonkotsu ramen ($14 – no.4 on the menu). The broth had a light pork flavour with sweet and heavy umami flavours driven by the miso tare. The miso also gave the broth a thicker consistency. The wavy noodles were springy and flavoursome from its alkaline component (legit!). It also had two massive slices of thick tender chashu, ajitama (flavoured egg), naruto, shallots and sweet menma. It was definitely a solid bowl of ramen.
Gyokai tonkotsu ramen a.k.a. tonkotsu with fish broth ramen
I also tried their gyokai tonkotsu ramen ($15 – no.5 on the menu), which is a double soup ramen with pork bone broth and fish broth. The broth had a milky consistency with light pork and light fish flavours. The shio based tare gave the broth some depth. The noodles were the same with toppings such as two slices of chashu, shallots, fried shallots and ajitama. I love my thicker and intense tonkotsu broths but I really liked this ramen. Maybe because I'm bias to gyokai tonkotsu but it was just amazing. 

There's a reason why they're the OG and a go to for Sydney ramen lovers. Ryo's ramen technique is seamless from the broth to the ramen formation. 

Ryo's Noodles Bondi Junction
106 Ebley St
Bondi Junction NSW

Opening hours
Mon-Tue: 11:30am to 3pm, 5pm to 9pm
Wed: Closed
Thurs-Sun:  11:30am to 3pm, 5pm to 9pm
Ryo's Noodles Bondi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, May 30, 2016

Gray's by Circa, Sydney

What happens when one of Sydney's innovative chefs and one of Sydney's best cafes get together? You get one awesome eatery and wine bar. For the next 9 weeks, pop-up restaurant Gray's by Circa will be operating behind the Edition Coffee Roasters pop-up coffee shop on Castlereagh Street (Located below the Trust Building, across from Gregory). It's a partnership between Head Chef Jack New (ex-Maslow's, Edition, Sokyo, Cafe Sydney and Ananas) and Mr. Circa Espresso himself: Aykut Sayan

Coffee available from Edition Coffee Roasters

Chef Jack New

The theme behind Gray's by Circa is "Cuisine for the modern Dorian Gray". A character created by the renowned and controversial author Oscar Wilde. Gray's is all about the ultimate pleasure through food and wine. All their breakfast and lunch dishes will be highly European inspired. The place has a Trattoria-like feel. They also offer wine for lunch to perfectly match their lunch menu dishes. I visited Gray's to check out their breakfast offerings.


Their hotcake ($14) was sensational! It's a beautifully constructed fluffy rose water and ricotta hotcake dish with grilled fig, salted dulce de leche mousse, Pedro Ximinez soaked dates and pistachios. Jack's hotcakes are always amazing.

Then there's the fancy Duck eggs Croque Madame ($15). It is massive and rich in flavours thanks to the bechamel, smoky ham and buttered sourdough. The watercress dressed with truffle oil went perfectly with the duck egg. The earthy flavour from the truffle oil complimented the creamy yolk of the flavoursome duck egg. I can have this dish for breakfast/brunch everyday. 
Depending on how this pop-up performs, there's a possibility of Gray's opening for dinner too. So check them out before the pop-up ends. I'm definitely keen to return and try out the lunch menu. Follow @GraysbyCirca on Instagram for further updates.

Grays by Circa
72A Castlereagh Street
Sydney NSW 2000
Opening hours:

Monday to Friday 7am-3pm

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Guilty, Darlinghurst - Bar and burgers

A lot of burger joints have opened in Sydney this year and I'm slowly working my way through them. But when Melbourne's renowned Burger Maestro opens his own burger place, you make it your priority to hit it up ASAP. I've been following Jimmy Hurslton (a.k.a. @Jimmysburgers) for years and his instagram account has been my go to guide for Melbourne burger recommendations. He has been to almost every (probably "all") legit burger place in Melbourne, Sydney and beyond. He is also the owner of Easy's in Melbourne. Bottomline is, this guy knows everything of what makes an excellent burger.

Batman brew

Guilty is his latest baby and is located in the heart of Darlinghurst. It's actually more of  well-rounded bar than it is a burger place. But my visit was really for the burgers because "no burger no life" right?

The Kecksburger ($10) is their house cheeeseburger with salad, onions, pickles, ketchup and mustard in a soft potato bun. I prefer my cheeseburger without salad but this is an exception. It's well constructed and the salad doesn't take the attention away from the melted cheese and the tasty juicy patty.

Then there's my favourite, the rowdy double jeopardy ($17). This is where their flame grilled perfectly cooked and seasoned beef patties shine. Just like the kecksburger, the patties contain coarsely mince beef. The good thing about the coarsely minced beef is that it created pockets of juice and chunks of meat for amazing texture. Double the patty and double cheese gives this classic cheeseburger with a twist that extra umami and juicy factor. It also came with ketchup and mustard.

The tots to life ($6) is their tater tots with a twist. Deep fried morsels of potato that's super crisped on the outside and fluffy in the inside. They then take it up a notch by topping it up with melted cheese, crispy bacon pieces and caramelised onions.

A sweet combo of fast service, quality booze, outstanding burgers, deep fried stuff and hiphop tracks, you can't go wrong with Jimmy's joint. If lovin' this place is a crime, then I'm GUILTY as charged!

248 Palmer Street
Darlinghurst NSW 2010

Opening Hours:

Monday to Sunday 11am to 10pm
Guilty Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato