Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Seoul Project, Sydney

Seoul good in the hood mah homies! Sydney's Townhall area has just gotten more delicious with the addition of a new Korean restaurant. The new Seoul Project is tucked away in the laneway-like Wilmot Street. 

The place has a contemporary tavern feel with industrial fittings. It's definitely not your typical traditional Korean restaurant. It offers modern Korean cuisine, which breaks the boundaries of traditional cooking. Basically in their case, Korean cuisine meets Dude Food. You can still expect the fermented based dishes, Bo ssam, bibimbap and jjigae dishes. There's also Western influenced dishes like kimchi fries and corn cheese pizza! 
Brown and black rice mix
Kimchi jjigae
Their kimchi jjigae or hot pot/stew ($16) is super tasty and perfect to have in this cold weather! It has a kimchi infused broth, tender pork ribs, tofu, enoki, and other vegetables. I loved the mild to medium heat and sour flavour in the broth. The smoky notes in the soup gave it depth. Perfect for adding to your rice! The sweetness from the soft veggies gave balance to the dish. 
Corn cheese pizza

The corn cheese pizza ($16) is not an actual pizza but rather a smart and mind blowing play on an Italian classic. The base is a buttery flaky pastry topped with corn, scallions and gooey melted cheese. It all worked so freakin' well! It also had hints of garlic and sweet chive flavours.
Snow Korean fried chicken
Then the main event: their snow Korean Fried Chicken ($18 half chicken). This one belongs up there as one of the best Korean Fried Chickens in Sydney. The rippled coating of the chicken was super crunchy and the meat was juicy and flavoursome. The cheese powder was like powdered twisties with tiny notes of garlic and sweet onion flavour. It was a complete delightful sensory experience indeed!

I will definitely be back to try their original Korean Fried chicken ($17), tteokbokki ($26) and oven platter (which is a set of beef ribs, pork ribs, chicken wings, and roasted pork belly with chips and salad - $45).

Ah mashita!

Seoul Project
9 Wilmot Street
Sydney NSW

Opening Hours
Mon to Thurs: 11:30am - 3pm, 5:00om - 1:00am
Friday to Saturday: 11:30am - 1:00am

Sunday: 11:30am - 12am
Seoul Project Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Shin Yasaka, Neutral Bay

Neutral Bay is blessed with heaps of Japanese restaurants. It's no wonder that one of Sydney's leading ramen shops has opened a new branch north of the bridge. Shin (meaning new) Yasaka opened in the heart of Neutral Bay last Saturday, 2nd of July 2016. Yasaka's head chef Takeshi Sekigawa will be moving from the CBD shop to concentrate more on Shin Yasaka. 
Head chef - Takeshi Sekigawa

Besides from the space being smaller than the CBD joint, the menu is different too. You'll find a cut down version of Yasaka's ramen menu plus some new additions like the kakuni and chashu bao. The big difference will be in the broth. Whilst Yasaka CBD uses a pressure cooker to create their tonkotsu broth, Shin Yasaka uses a labour intensive two-pot method that creates a thicker and intense broth. The final broth is a result of combining stock from a pot with gentle boil and stock from another pot with an agressive boil. It's similar to Gumshara and Muteppou's gravy-like broth but with his own spin to it. Every broth is flavoured with either a shoyu, shio or miso tare of your choice. You're also given an order sheet to customise your ramen and order dishes with. The whole wheat noodles used in every ramen are still made in-house. 

I was invited to their opening ceremony ahead of the official opening day to sample some items from the menu. 

Their karaage chicken is a delicious version of this classic Japanese snack. It had a juicy, gingery and slightly sweet flavoured meat with crisped and doughy batter.
Shin yasaka ramen with extra ajitama
We were served with their house specialty ramen, which is the shin Yasaka ramen ($14) with extra ajitama (flavoured marinated egg). Toppings included double tender slices of chashu, green onion, menma and nori. The broth is like golden liquid! It was dense, rich and thanks to the shoyu tare, it had a deep pork flavour. The noodles were springy but slightly on the soft side. The ajitama was lightly flavoured with a runny yolk. I was really impressed with this ramen.

We also got to try their kakuni bao ($6.80), which is a buttery braised pork tendon in a soft pillow of half moon steamed bun. It also comes with a cool Yasaka stamp! 

I went back on their opening day to try another ramen and be one of the first 50 customers to get a free No Ramen No Life sweater!

Karaage chicken

Spare rib ramen
I had their spare rib ramen ($22) with extra chilli pickled cabbage and ajitama topping. Hot damn the pork spare rib was massive! The tender fatty meat was braised for hours and then flame seared before serving. I asked for the same shoyu tonkotsu broth and on the sheet I chose: normal taste with thick consistency. The broth came out the same as the shin yasaka ramen from the opening ceremony but was a little less thick. I asked for an extra topping of chilli pickled cabbage to cut through the richness. I preferred the noodles this time around as it was more springy. 

Just like the CBD shop, Shin Yasaka does pretty amazing and solid ramen. There's still some hiccups with the way the ordering system works but since they are quite new, I'm sure it will all be sorted out soon. 


Ramen Raff was invited by SD Marketing Global as a guest of Shin Yasaka for the opening ceremony.

Ramen Raff paid for food and beverages on the second visit.

Shin Yasaka
161-163 Military Road
Neutral Bay NSW 

Opening hours
Lunch: 11:30am to 3:00pm
Dinner: 5:00pm to 9:30pm

Yasaka Ramen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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