Thursday, March 24, 2011

Ton Ton Takeaway, Sydney CBD

Nearing the end of my Sydney Ramen Safari now, we recoupe and head to Ton Ton Takeaway in Chifley Square (after some failed navigation on my part) for part three of Ramengeddon. Located in a small food court, we order at the counter a bowl of TonTon ramen with a boiled egg.

TonTon Ramen, TonTon Chifley
TonTon Ramen $9.80 and boiled egg $1

The bowl arrives with the broth tinged orange, indicating the slightly spiced tonkotsu, with the noodles buried beneath seaweed, bean sprouts, two slices of cha-su, a piece of nori, shallots and sesame seeds. After the triumph that was Menya and Ichi-ban Boshi, I couldn't help but to feel a little let down by Ton Ton in comparison - the spicy broth was a bit too hot for Georgia and Fieldhouse, not exactly thick and a little oily, though it was rather flavoursome. The pork was lean, lacking the ribbons of fat that, in my opinion, is required for the perfect cha-su and the egg was sadly plain. The noodles were thin and smooth but decent, while seaweed and bean sprout contribute some unconventional but welcome additions to the dish. Overall, this wasn't bad, but was our least favourite ramen of the day.

Green tea soft serve, Mizuya
Green tea soft serve $1

On the way down George St, there was a sign outside Mizuya flogging an Autumn special of $1 green tea soft serves (takeaway only). I really, really love green tea flavoured anything, so that wasn't even a question. It was awesome. Hand art courtesy of Angela Fieldhouse.

Ton Ton Takeaway
Level 1 Chifley Plaza, 2 Chifley Square, Sydney 2000
Telephone: (02) 9222 9960

Ton Ton Chifley on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Ichi-ban Boshi, Sydney CBD

The second destination of Ramengeddon was Ichi-ban Boshi, on the top level of The Galeries Victoria next to Kinokuyia. I had timed it so we'd get in right after 2PM, the time they start serving their famed tonkotsu ramen, which is limited to 15 bowls a day. There's aways people waiting outside for a table, the system involves writing down your name, the number of seats you need and whether you're okay with sharing a table and the hostess calls you when a space becomes available. After missing being called for our table (second time this has happened, we must be deaf), I was pleased there was still tonkotsu to be had.

Tonkotsu Ramen, Ichi-ban Boshi
Tonkotsu ramen $10.90 with soft boiled egg $1

The tonkotsu ramen here is a simple fare, with minimal topping of a slice of cha-su, a piece of nori, shallots and a sprinkling of sesame seeds. We order an extra topping of egg, because no ramen is complete without an egg. Despite its simplicity, the dish is nearly perfect - what little has been done in this bowl has been done well. The broth here is nearly godly, second only to Gumshara, the flavour of pork is strong and the consistency is rich without being over-bearingly thick. The noodles are of the thinner, smooth variety, made freshly on location and are cooked wonderfully al dente. I have no complaints about the cha-su and the egg is seasoned and beautifully soft-boiled, with a perfect googie yolk. We finish every last drop of broth in the bowl and stared longingly at its sad emptiness. Thank god we ordered gyoza as well...
Gyoza, Ichi-ban Boshi
Gyoza $6.50 (5 pieces)

The gyoza arrives in a shallow pool of vinegar, topped with shallots and a dollop of chilli sauce, a row of pan-fried bottoms enticingly facing us. The skin was golden and as crisp as it looks, coupled with a pleasingly spongey pork filling with hints of garlic. The sour vinegar dressing complimented the savoury dumplings, while the chilli contributed a piquant note (thank you Georgia for the words).

Green tea latte, Ichi-ban Boshi
Iced green tea cappuccino $4.50

I love green tea flavouring in everything so I could not pass up the iced green tea cappuccino, topped with milky froth and dusted with brown sugar, it is also served with a small pouring cup of syrup to add sweetness. I usually add about half the syrup to achieve the perfect balance of the flavours of green tea, coffee, milk and sweetness. Oh, what satisfaction.

Ichi-ban Boshi
Level 2, 500 George Street, Galeries Victoria, Sydney 2000
Telephone: (02) 9262 7677

Ichi-ban Boshi on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Menya Noodle Bar, Sydney CBD

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you, part one of the epic and unofficial end to my Sydney Ramen Safari, to be known as Ramengeddon. Last Friday, we gathered the troops and Georgia, Shalia, Fieldhouse and I embarked on our epic ramen expedition around Sydney City, demolishing four bowls of tonkotsu at four different locations. This is stop one, Menya Noodle Bar (CBD).

After the somewhat disappointing lack of pork-punch that was the tonkotsu-shoyu broth at Menya Chinatown, I was optimistic for the straight-out tonkostu Menya Ramen at Market St branch. Georgia and I arrived before noon to find the place already-packed with business people and a line out the door. It took us about half an hour to get a table for three, but I took the bustling lunch rush as a sign of good food.

Tonkotsu Menya Ramen, Menya CBD
Menya Ramen, Tonkotsu $9.90

The ramen was nearly identical to its brother in Chinatown, served with a slice of cha-su, two pieces of naruto, a sheet of nori, half an egg and shallots. However the broth was so much more pleasing, although thin and oily, it was flavoursome and porky with a very full-bodied flavour (yes I know this term is usually used to refer to wine, but I'm lacking in adjectives here). The noodles here are amazing, chewy and not thin, I'm not sure if I'm correct but I'm presuming the more irregular-shaped and lumpy noodles are hand-pulled as opposed to the thin and smooth machine-made ones, and these were the lumpy noodles I prefer. I find that the texture of the lumpy ones tends to be 'bouncier' - I don't know the correct English word used to describe this so this is a literal translation of the Chinese term. But back to the Menya ramen, the pork was tender, fatty and stickily delicious, only one slice though but still good for the price, the half egg is not quite soft as I like it but tastily soy-cured, however it was slightly cold in the centre. Overall, this was satisfyingly good ramen, and we scooped up every last drop of the broth.

Takoyaki, Menya CBD
Takoyaki, $6.50 (8 pieces)

As well as the ramen, we ordered a plate of takoyaki to share - it comes covered in an abundance of dancing bonito flakes (perhaps a little too much) and a drizzle of tonkatsu sauce and Japanese mayo (not enough, in my opinion - I love Jap mayo). However the takoyaki was fantastic, crisp on the outside and piping hot in the centre, with a piece of octopus as well as squid. Om nom nom nom is all I have left to say.

Menya Noodle Bar
Shop 2, 1 Market Street, Sydney 2000
Telephone: (02) 9267 4649

Menya Noodle Bar on Urbanspoon

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Well Connected Cafe, Glebe

I'll have you know that in truth, I am really slow with blogging because I am so ridiculously lazy, which has resulted in a backlog, so please excuse me as I catch up on a few posts before I get onto the epicness that was Ramengeddon on Friday (the unofficial end of my Ramen Safari). A few weeks ago Fiona and I finally managed to catch the ever-elusive Sharon for brunch at Well Connected Cafe in Glebe. We sat upstairs on the balcony over-looking Glebe Point Road and Sharon made fun of all the people sipping lattes with their laptops.

Eggs Benedict, Well Connected Cafe
Eggs Benedict $14.50

Fi and Sharon shared the eggs Benedict with bacon, which compromises of two poached eggs on baby spinach and bacon on buttered sourdough toast topped with a Hollandaise. The eggs were perfectly runny, the bacon fried crisp and the Hollandaise a pale gold, needless to say, the plate was demolished in a matter of minutes, though some cracked pepper would've been nice. Please excuse Sharon's impatient fingers and cutlery invading my photo, she was very eager to dig in right away. Also, don't quote me on the prices, I don't really remember the exact numbers but these should be right give or take 50 cents.

Scrambled Eggs with Smoked Salmon and Asparagus, Well Connected Cafe
Scrambled eggs with smoked salmon, asparagus and cream cheese on toast $13

My plate arrives with an enticing presentation of colours of soft, fluffy scrambled eggs with chives, roasted asparagus, two slices of smoked salmon and cream cheese spread on two slices of toasted sourdough. The salmon was folded into a rose but I didn't notice until I began eating and I was too consumed by the food to stop to take another photo. I don't think there's much to say about this, it was perfect and tasted exactly like it should, scrambled eggs is a breakfast classic and this one was faultless. I piled then onto the bread and cheese with a slice of salmon, said poo-poo to table manners and ditched my cutlery to pick up the toast with my hands. I regret nothing.

Cappuccino, Well Connected Cafe
Cappuccino $3.50

Well Connected Cafe
35 Glebe Point Rd, Glebe 2037
Telephone: (02) 9566 2655

Well Connected Cafe on Urbanspoon

Monday, March 14, 2011

Lansdowne Hotel, Happy Lemon, Glebe

I started uni two weeks ago so now instead of an idle glutton, I am officially a starving uni student. And what better than cheap pub food to soothe the woes of hunger and unemployment? I remember the glory days about two years ago when the Lansdowne Hotel on City Rd displayed banners boasting their $5 meals, but alas today the cheap eats are $7.

Chicken Scnitzel, Lansdowne Hotel
Chicken schnitzel with gravy and mash $7

I've been here many times before for their chicken schnitzel, cheap as it is, it is indisputably delicious regardless of the cheap fare. On a good day, the slab of crumbed chook can take up most of your plate but this time it was modestly sized (but heart-shaped!). The side of potato is small-ish but in all it is undoubtably filling, however I do wish there was more gravy. There is a choice of mushroom, pepper Diane sauce or gravy and chips or mash.

Across the road on Broadway, there is a bright yellow shop of happiness known as Happy Lemon. I've heard legends of their questionable-sounding concoction of green tea with cheese and rock salt, so being the fearless warrior that I am, I braced my tastebuds and headed in.

Cheese rock salt green tea, Happy Lemon
Green tea with cheese and rock salt $4.20 (regular)

First off I'll have to know I am morally opposed to the desegregation of sweet and salty flavours and yes, I have dipped fries in soft serves and no, I did not like it. So with the utmost caution I lifted the lid of my Happy Lemon happy cup to slurp some of the frothy cheese and as Grab Your Fork described it, it tasted like "aerated cheesecake tinged with salt". It was extremely odd, yet not an unpleasant combination of sweet, creamy and salty flavours. I didn't immediately fall in love but by the end I was converted, and attempting to lick the remnants of cheese off the edges of the cup. Further down the drink, the strong taste of green tea drowned out most of the mild salty, cheesy flavours, however the sweetness was rather refreshing.

Cheese rock salt green tea, Happy Lemon

225 Broadway, Glebe 2037
Tel: (02) 9571 7717

Lansdowne Hotel
2-6 City Road, Chippendale 2008
Tel: (02) 8281 2333

Lansdowne Hotel on Urbanspoon

Friday, March 4, 2011

Supreme Gourmet Pizza Bar, Earlwood

Supreme Gourmet Pizza Bar is my local pizza joint, ever since it opened up last year two blocks away, I've stopped ordering pizza from Domino/Pizza Hut/Crust. I've been hooked on their Vegetarian Supreme (even though I'm usually carnivorous, yes) ever since trying a sample their opening night and it's become a pre-requisite of every order I make. This was the order that kicked off my vegetarian week and provided sustenance in times of laziness. I know I'm waxing lyrical but I've been through over half their menu and there legitimately wasn't a single thing I didn't like.

Vegetarian Supreme, Supreme Gourmet Pizza Bar
Vegetarian Supreme $18.90

The vegetarian supreme consists of artichokes, grilled eggplant, roasted capsicum, sundried tomatoes, mushrooms, spanish onions and pesto aioli on a tomato base. The pesto aioli is the real kicker, it's so amazing I've had dreams about it (well, one). There was this one time they had forgotten to add it and I wept in disappointment while contemplating whether to chase after the delivery boy. The eggplant is also brilliant (and so is their char-grilled eggplant pizza).

Zante Vegetarian, Supreme Gourmet Pizza Bar
Zante Vegetarian $18.90

Zante vegetarian involved tomato, garlic, kalamata olives, Spanish onions, crumbled feta, topped with oregano and olive oil on a tomato base. This was simple and tasty in an understated manner, the mild flavours of tomato and mozzarella punctuated by salty bursts of feta and olives. Yum. Even the leftovers (yes, reheated pizza) were good.

Supreme Gourmet Pizza Bar
Shop 13, 192-194 William Street, Earlwood 2206
Telephone: 1300 10 40 40

Supreme Gourmet Pizza Bar on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Vegetarian Week

Last week, in a bid to prove to myself I do indeed possess the power to say 'no', I decided to perform an exercise in self control in the form of vegetarianism, for seven days (basically a wussier version of The Vegan Challenge). Anyone knows me should know I am a vicious carnivore with a personal meat consumption level equivalent to a small African nation, so this was going to be no easy feat. Just for the record, the only vegetables I tend to eat are potatoes and onions, and I am convinced that I am allergic to leafy green vegetables (with good reason though, I've been through two trips to the hospital emergency ward as a result of anaphylaxis after eating salad).

However, I did indeed survive, with an additional two days on the end because I'd bought too much produce at the markets which I had to use up. Honestly, I actually feel healthier too, probably because I've been getting my five serves of veggies/three serves of fruit on a regular basis. Anyway, onto some animal-friendly food porn, these are some of my meals from the last week...


Avocado and olive oil on Vienna toast
Avocado with olive oil on toasted Vienna bread

Scrambled eggs with baby spinach and mushroom on Vienna toast
Scrambled eggs with baby spinach and mushrooms on toasted Vienna bread

Mi Goreng with fried egg
Mi Goreng noodles and fried egg

Greek yoghurt blended with blueberries topped with museli
Greek yoghurt blended with blueberries and baked muesli


Avocado salad
Avocado, tomato, cucumber and mozzarella salad with balsamic vinegar and whole-seed mustard dressing

Asparagus with poached egg and shaved parmesan
Asparagus with poached egg, basil olive oil and shaved parmesan

Penne pasta with vegetarian bolognaise
Penne pasta with vegetarian bolognaise and parmesan

Creamed spinach with fried egg and croutons
Creamed spinach with sunny-side up egg and croutons


Pan-fried croutons with whole-seed mustard, parsley, garlic and sesame oil

Mint leaves, kiwi fruit, strawberries, lemon
Mint leaves, kiwi fruit, strawberries, lemon

Summer iced tea
Summer iced tea