Sunday, July 14, 2019

Ramen Zundo Sapporo - Chatswood

When asked where my favourite tsukemen is in Sydney, I direct people to check out Ramen Zundo in World Square. The gyokai tsukemen there is absolutely amazing. 


Touch pad ordering system

Lychees with yuzu and mango with yuzu smoothies

The head chef and owner Mr. Hiroki Nagao has opened a new and bigger shop not long ago in the form of Ramen Zundo Sapporo. It’s located on the second floor of Chatswood Place. This shop specialises in Sapporo style ramen.

What makes Sapporo style ramen different from most ramen is the method of assembly. Most ramen bowls are prepared in layers starting with the tare, fat, followed by the broth, then the noodles and finished with laying the toppings. Sapporo ramen mostly uses miso tare. The tare, most toppings (minus the egg & chashu) and broth are all combined in a fiery wok to elevate the umami. Then the contents of the wok are all poured on to the bowl of noodles. 

For first timers, I suggest trying the Deluxe Sapporo ramen ($17.50). The broth is a blend of chicken, pork and konbu seasoned with miso tare.  The broth is quite cloudy and had medium level of umami. The noodles used for all their Sapporo ramen are imported from Sapporo. Due to the minerals in Sapporo’s filtered snow water, the noodles have more bite and are quite springy. It’s topped with wok fried veggies with pork, ajitamago, menma, nori, negi and a fatty tender chashu.

There’s also vegetarian options on the menu! The vegetarian shoyu ramen ($16.50) is interesting. For a konbu based broth and shoyu, the broth had a lot of umami. The shoyu tare in particular had a very deep bold flavour. It uses the same noodles and the toppings included fried tofu, renkon (fried lotus root), radish, stir fried veggies, menma and nori.

Delicious snacks like karaage chicken and gyozas are also available.

Great news! They have a promotion coming up fam! From the 17th of July 2019 to the 21st of July 2019, all Sapporo ramen on the menu will all be $10 only! 

Ramen Raff was invited as a guest of Ramen Zundo Sapporo.

Ramen Zundo Sapporo 
260 Victoria Street
Chatswood NSW
Open 7 days
Lunch 11:30pm to 3pm
Dinner 4:30pm to 9:00pm (Thurs, Fri & Sat), :4:30pm to 8:00pm (Mon to Wed, Sun)

Ramen Zundo Sapporo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Chaco Bar - Darlinghurst, Sydney

Chaco Bar is Sydney’s pride when it comes to ramen and yakitori. Keita Abe (owner and executive chef) and the rest of team Chaco has impressed Sydney-siders since opening in 2014 with their Fukuoka-style yakitori and modern take on ramen. They have recently announced that the yakitori side of Chaco will be moved at a new location on Victoria Street in Potts Point sometime in October 2019. 

The current Chaco site will still be around but will be become Chaco Ramen where they will be serving ramen for most likely 6 days a week (good news for ramen geeks like me).
Fat soy ramen (available during ramen service hours)
Here’s what we recently had at our last visit to Chaco:

Sashimi is normally available and we had some beautiful Kingfish. The fish had a clean taste, firm texture and accompanied by a ponzu-like sauce.

The gyozas ($18 for 6 pieces) here are plump and the pork filling is so damn flavoursome. It also has that perfect crisped caramelised bottoms.

There’s a good range of yakitori dishes on the menu (ranging from $3-$7 each). This includes spicy lamb, chicken thigh, chicken tail, gristle, chicken gizzard and even pork belly. All skewered meats are laced and grilled with umami rich tare (seasoning marinade). You’ll find nothing but smoky and deep flavoured meats with an array of flavours. I particularly love the fatty chicken tail and crunchy gristle.

Chaco Bar does Fukuoka style yakitori, which means they offer more than just skewered meats. They also have sharing plates and I recommend looking at their “specials” board. We tried 3 dishes from the Special menu:

The uni wagyu ($29) had thinly buttery slices of +9 grade Wagyu. There were also bursts of umami from the creamy uni (sea urchin gonads), parmesan cheese and lovely WA truffles. The serving of egg yolk added a nice extra texture to the whole dish.

The baby corn dish ($13) with Chaco butter was also amazing! The corn was so smoky and the butter sauce with squid ink added extra umami and sweetness.

The highlight for me was the M9 Wagyu steak with shiitake mushroom, housemade mustard and bone marrow ($32). The beautiful marbled Wagyu steak slices was amazingly tender, nicely seasoned and accompanied with a beautiful tare. I also loved the buttery marrow.

Chaco bar never ceases to amaze me with every visit. It is everything from the moody Japanese style tavern interior, the excellent service and the amazing food on offer. It’s an authentic piece of Japan in the heart of Sydney.
Chaco Bar
238 Crown Street 
Darlinghurst NSW 2010

Tue-Sat 5:30-10:00pm

Mon 5:30-9:00pm
Wed-Sat 11:30-2:30pm
Sun 11:30-2:30pm 5:00-8:30pm

Chaco Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Bella Brutta, Newtown

Hype, like with anything can be a double edge sword. It could make or break a place. There’s been so much hype around Bella Brutta since it opened in Newtown back in 2018.

I’ve heard nothing but praises from bloggers, food writers and everyone else in the Sydney social media community about their pizzas and other Italian influenced offerings on their menu. This is expected from a brainchild of Luke Powell and Porteño dudes Joseph Valore and Elvis Abrahanowicz. Chocolatesuze and I visited them few months ago and I can confirm, believe the hype! It lived up to my expectations.

The cheese fritti with hot sauce ($4 each) is deep fried golden goats and Parmesan cheese with woodfired green pepper salsa. The crisped cheese balls had an amazing molten soft cheesy centre and the salsa complimented the balls with a kick of smoky and sweet flavours.

I’ve never had seafood pizza as delicious as their clam pizza ($26). The crust is legit with blistered burnt bits and a thin soft base. There was so much umami from the clams and pecorino cheese. The garlic, parsley and chilli brings balance to the dish’s umami. I’m normally a margherita or quattro formaggi kinda guy but this pizza got me craving for more!

They had a dry aged ribeye ($40) on offer that day. The Veal milainase was dry aged for 1 month and panko crumbed. “Tender buttery umami” is what comes to mind with this dish. It also had a lovely smoked beef fat and lemon vinaigrette.

The generous slab of tiramisu ($14) that we had was amazing! It had hazelnuts, beautiful layers of cream, mascarpone, Disaronno amaretto and Amaro Montenegro liqueur.

I cannot wait to visit this place again. There is so much more on the menu that I want to try especially the other pizza offerings.

Bella Brutta
135 King St
Newtown NSW 2042
Tel: 02 9922 5941

Mon to Fri 5pm-11pm
Saturday 12pm-11pm
Sunday 12pm-11pm

Bella Brutta Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato