This will be my last post for about two weeks as I’ll be in the US of A for two weeks! Actually, I’ve already been there for a few days already but luckily I’ve already had this post written up beforehand. Cya guys back after Jan the 4th of 2013!
There are five primary food types that define Japanese cuisine: ramen, soba, tempura, udon, and sushi. These are the dishes that have been prepared in Japan since ancient times, while dishes such as curry or teriyaki wagyu steaks came much later after the Japanification of Western cuisine. Of the original five, sushi and ramen are by far my favourites. It is these two foods that put Japanese food on the number 1 spot for a country’s cuisine.
So, when I heard great things about Ryo’s noodles, in so far as some claiming it to be the best ramen in Sydney, I knew I had to try this place to put these rumours to rest once and for all. Well, for myself, at least.
But my God, it’s in Crow’s Nest, so while I had originally heard all the buzz about the place months ago, it was only one month ago (as of writing this post) that I managed to go, luckily as a stop-off dinner on my way back home from a trip to the north.
Date Visited: 10/11/2012
Address: 125 Falcon St, Crows Nest, NSW 2065
Go-to dish: like, any ramen dish
We had to wait outside for about 5 minutes, which judging from the rumours, wasn’t particularly surprising. We arrived pretty early – less than 20min after the place opens, and yet people were already queuing up.
After I get inside though, I kind of see why – the place is small, like really small. It seats no more than 20 people methinks, it’s essentially the size of a large apartment’s living room. Phooar, but I guess it does give off the appearance of being homely.
Definitely homely alright – ceiling fan, basic aircon…and it’s so YELLOW. Man I cannot overstate how yellow the whole place is. This has to be a deliberate colour scheme – it definitely stands out. The building’s yellow on the outside as well, which really helps it to be recognised.
Oh well in the end, as long as the small size and garish yellow of the place doesn’t concern you, you’ll do fine. What you’re here for is the food. Boy were we starving.
Smells heavenly. Time to dig at this systematically:
Soup: quite salty – beyond normal miso base standards, really oily. It tastes good, but the salt and oil was definitely way overdone. I understand that apparently some parts of Japan have their ramen this way but this is definitely not to my palate. Well, dilute the salt a bit and if I didn’t get fat from oil I’d be happy to take it. I hear that you can also get a diluted soup – that’s worth a go.
Noodles: pretty much perfect, not too soft or hard (though perhaps biased towards being tougher), with the right amount of springiness. Here the heavy flavour of the soup actually favours the noodles as it infuses the noodles with the flavour of the soup. You could essentially eat the noodles, ignoring the soup and enjoy it immensely. I noticed many actually eat it this way judging from the number of bowls still with soup in them being brought back into the kitchen.
Garnishes: there’s not too much pork, but that didn’t really matter – it was good pork in any case. Always love me some chashu in my ramen. Plenty of shallots and bamboo shoots which add a semi-crunchy texture to the dish, not bad!
Tonkotsu is my favourite type of ramen broth (followed closely by miso), so I had to see what this was like.
Soup: same as the one for the miso, albeit less salty and more spicy. The spice is good – love spice, the same level of oil was not welcome though. But in this case, if I didn’t have issues with oil, I’d be happy to drink this soup.
Noodles: same quality as the previous, which is to say awesome. Seriously, the noodles at Ryo’s is really quite exceptional and easily surpasses those of Menya and Gumshara.
Garnishes: a very enjoyable bisected ni-tamago (flavoured egg aka lava egg) with enough pork that still leaves you wanting more. It’s chashu man, you just can’t go wrong with it.
We actually ordered one more thing – soft shell crab! I figured why not try this side as I’ve heard good thing about it.
It’s deep fried so don’t make this a staple of your diet, but for the occasional guilt trip this crab is worth it. Love crunching through the ‘shell’, reaching the juicy flesh within. There’s not much there, and it’s over all too quickly. Worth it though!
When I order noodle soup, I always drink the soup – I don’t really see the point of not drinking it. I did indeed finish the broth of the ramen I ordered (and in fact, that of the bowl that le friend ordered too), but this was the first time in awhile where I felt like I shouldn’t have done so – I felt like I could get a heart attack. That oiliness, it’s got to go.
Ryo’s themselves say that their best and most famous ramen is their shoyu-based ramen. It’s a bit of a bad coincidence that we didn’t order either, but we definitely will next time – yes I am coming back here again. It’s not the best I’ve had thanks to its soup quality, but these factors should be easily adjustable. If the shoyu ramen does turn out good, then Ryo’s needs to work on not being seen as a one-hit wonder amongst ramen-ya.
As usual, feel free to leave a comment or three
The Good: excellent noodle quality, no skimping on garnishings
The Bad: super oily and salty broth – requires scaling back. Restaurant is a bit small
I give Ryo’s Noodles a grand total of six and a half Caesars out of ten – 6.5/10