Monday, May 16, 2016

Sydney Ramen Wars Vol.1 - Salaryman, Surry Hills

We’ve had burger wars in Sydney. But with the growing love for Japanese ramen in Sydney, it was just right for a Ramen Wars event to finally transpire. Salaryman in Surry Hills organised the first volume of Ramen Wars in Sydney last Sunday, 15 May 2016. The first volume was a faceoff between two teams of ex-Noma Chefs: Silvereye’s Head Chef Sam Miller and Sous Chef Tom Halpin and Master Restaurant’s Head Chef John Javier

Both teams were given the freedom to be creative and innovative with their own interpretations of ramen. I love ramen! So I can’t miss the opportunity of going to the first ever Sydney Ramen Wars. Diners on the night were given the power to become Ra-men and women judges. For $60 you get to have 2 bowls of ramen, a cocktail and a dessert.  

Here’s what took place: 

There were two choices of cocktails and I opted for the "yuzu deepthroater", which had yuzushu, vodka, yuzu, grapefruit and elderflower liquer.

Ramen no.1 (Ox tongue, smoked eel, mushroom ramen
Ramen no.1 (by Team Silvereye Restaurant): Ox tongue, smoked eel, mushroom ramen
This ramen had a lot of great technique going on. Toppings were cooked perfectly and the wavy ramen noodles were nice and firm. The shoyu (soy) based broth was aromatic and light. But whilst this bowl excelled in technique, it lacked in the broth department. It seemed like they were going for a concentrated reduced-type broth but I think it would have worked better if they turned the broth into a tsukemen dipping broth. The broth itself needed some sort of umami hit (even just a little bit) for it to work 100% too.
Ramen no.2 (Combination seafood and XO sauce)
Ramen no.2 (by Team Master Restaurant): Combination seafood and XO sauce ramen
Straight off the bat, this bowl of ramen gets a lot of points for having generous toppings of seafood in Master’s ramen. There was also more broth in this bowl. The butter foam-like cream was also a good touch for adding umami and extra texture to what seemed like a shio (salt) based broth. I like that John used the thin noodles that are normally used for Hakata-style ramen. It was a hearty bowl and to me, a hearty ramen is a winner. This was my pick and also the official winner of Ramen Wars: Volume 1. 
Yuzu and pine nut tart
The yuzu and pine nut tart by Salaryman was beautiful! The lush yuzu custard and pastry with pine nuts was an awesome combo.

Whilst what we had wasn't really what one would expect from a typical bowl of ramen, it was still an interesting night of ramen fun! I'm looking forward to who will be facing off in Volume 2.

Ramen Raff was invited by Tonic PR as a guest of Salaryman's Ramen Wars.

Ramen Wars at Salaryman
52-54 Albion St
Surry Hills NSW 2010


  1. Look like a fun event! Some very interesting dishes there.

  2. Was very surprised by the lack/minimal amount of broth in both ramens. I like the sound of smoked eel though.


Let me know what ya think, aight! Would love to hear from ya.