Australia, Sydney, Sydney - CBD

Sokyo Ramen Pop Up

IMG_0208A

Ramen lovers, please take note.  The famed one-hatted Japanese restaurant, Sokyo, has opened up a ramen  pop up store in the food court of the Star.  This pop up store will be in operation until the end of November.

Arriving here on a Saturday night, there was a long queue, but the service was efficient and quick.  However, we observed some tension between the service staff taking orders and the kitchen staff who sometimes mixed up the orders.

IMG_0203A

Mai-San’s Fried Chicken ($9) came with a few pieces of marinated sake soy chicken karrage served with spicy mayo with a side of mixed green with yuzu dressing.  The chicken was nicely fried and well seasoned, which was crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.  There was a nice kick from the spiciness of the mayo to the chicken.  The mixed green vegetables added a refreshing touch to the dish.  A very enjoyable dish.

IMG_0207A

There were four styles of ramen to choose from, and each bowl came with a nori sheet stuck to the side of the bowl, which had the name of the store imprinted.

IMG_0201A

Kyoto Shoyu Ramen ($15) was a chicken dashi, pork backfat, soy sauce kaeshi, pork cheek chashu, marinated egg, nori, noodle soup.  The noodles were cooked perfectly in an “al dente” style. The broth was delightful, with subtle flavours of saltiness from the soy and the sweetness from the chicken dashi, with little bits of pork backfat scattered in the broth adding extra flavour.

IMG_0202A

Gyokairui Tonkotsu Ramen ($15) was a pork, chicken & seafood dashi, pork cheek chashu, marinated egg, nori, sesame seeds, black fungus noodle soup.  The noodles were again cooked perfectly.  The broth was a bit more rich, with a nice smoky flavour adding to its complexity, but it was lighter and not as rich and heavy as the broths of tonkotsu ramens in other places.  We actually prefer the lighter broth here – with its complexity of flavours expected from a tonkotsu broth, but without the heaviness of the overloaded collagen or fat that we tend to see in other places.

The pork cheek chashu in each bowl of ramen was lovely, and the eggs were cooked to perfection although they seem under-marinated.

We highly recommend anyone who loves ramen to check out this place before the end of November when they are scheduled to be closed.  Even if you are not into ramen, you should check it out to savour the amazing flavours from the broth of the ramen.

Sokyo Restaurant - The Darling at the Star Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sokyo Ramen by Chase Kojima

Website: http://www.star.com.au/sydney-restaurants/casual-dining/Pages/Pop-Up.aspx

Address: The Star Cafe Court, 80 Pyrmont Street, Pyrmont

Opening hours: Sunday to Monday, 11:30am to 9pm; Tuesday to Thursday, 11:30am to 10:30pm; Friday to Saturday, 11:30am to 11pm.  Expected to be closed at end of November 2015.

Accepts MasterCard, Visa and American Express (surcharge applies for all cards)

 

Australia, Sydney, Sydney - CBD

Masu Izakaya

IMG_2468

Masu Izakaya

An izakaya is a casual Japanese drinking place where people can go after work to grab a few drinks while chewing on yakitori skewers. To find a place in Sydney where there is a friendly vibe, with a good variety of drinks and food, is not easy, but we think we may have found the place.

IMG_2499 IMG_2550

Located in Chinatown, Masu Izakaya has only been opened for a few weeks. It has a really nice atmosphere with bright lights creating a warm hue, exposed brick walls giving it a rustic look, and comfortable leather chairs. The inclusion of a chandelier near the stairs gives some class to the venue.

The wait staff was very attentive during our visit, and the provision of wet towels on the table was a nice gesture.

The drink menu was amazing, with a vast variety of Japanese sake (which ranged from $6.50 to $13 for 100mL) and Japanese whisky (which ranged from $10 to $17 for a glass). They even have some different types of soda drinks that we have not seen in other Japanese restaurants. The drinks menu is really worth checking out.

IMG_2494

One thing to note is that the bottle of soy sauce provided on the table contained very thick soy sauce, which gave the food a more robust flavour. This was a nice touch.

IMG_2517

Assorted Sashimi $22.80

This contained salmon, tuna, kingfish and scallop sashimi. All the sashimi was fresh and sweet.

IMG_2505

Dragon Roll $10.80

A lightly seared eel inside out roll with cream cheese, cucumber and avocado. The rice was cooked perfectly, and the eel did not contain any fishy taste. A nice dish.

IMG_2536

Scallop and Ebi Fry $9.80

A lightly seared scallop inside out roll with ebi fry and cucumber. The ebi fry (prawns) were crispy, with very subtle scallop taste. The added sesame gave this dish a touch of depth in flavour. Very enjoyable.

IMG_2511

Eihire (dried sting ray fin) $7

Nicely flavoured but a little bit tough, this is the perfect dish to devour while downing a few beers or sakes. The mayo was a nice little touch.

IMG_2523

Grilled squid $12

The squid was soft and tender, and yet it had the nice smoky tarry taste from the grill. Another perfect dish to accompany some nice Japanese beer.

IMG_2530

Skewers

The yakitori skewers are their speciality and we tried a few different types. Apparently all the chicken used in the yakitori are from local farms which makes them fresh and tasty.

IMG_2519

The Mushroom ($4.50) had two mushrooms stuffed with chicken meat, and it had a nice Asian flavour going for it.

The Nankotsu (chicken cartilage) ($3.50) was nice and crunchy on the outside but soft on the inside. Some chicken meat seem to have been intentionally left on the cartilage for customers to taste the chicken flavour.

IMG_2526

The Sasami (chicken breast) and Momo (dark chicken meat) ($3.50 each) provided a contrast in taste and texture. Greg liked the Momo as he found it tender and flavoursome, while Jono found it too peppery. However, Jono liked the Sasami as he could taste the natural real chicken flavour from it, but Greg found it a bit too dry.

We also had a number of other skewers.

IMG_2531

The Wagyu Beef ($7.50) was soft, tender and tasty. It was simply divine!

IMG_2542

The Butabara Pork ($3.50) had the right amount of fat, making it soft and tender, which contrasted well with the crunchiness of the spring onion. Furthermore, the saltiness of the pork, with the spiciness of the sauce, and the sweetness from the onion created an explosion of flavours in our mouths.

The Quail Egg ($3) had the smokiness of the grill and when mixed with the sauce, it just oozed through our mouth.

IMG_2540

The Rice Cake Maki ($3.50) divided our opinions. Greg enjoyed it, as it was full of flavour with the outside being crunchy and inside being soft. However, Jono was disappointed with this dish, as the flavour from the sauce was too strong, making it taste like some sticky fat filled with sauce.

Overall, we loved this place, and we will be back on a regular basis. The drinks are special, the food is great, and the vibe is friendly and relaxed. This is the perfect place to wind up after work and chat with your friends or colleagues.

 

Masu Izakaya on Urbanspoon

 

Masu Izakaya

Website: http://www.masuizakaya.com

Address: Shop B1, 35-39 Liverpool Street (corner of Liverpool and Dixon Street), Sydney

Phone: (02) 9261 3011

Opening hours: Mon to Fri and Sun 11:30am to 11:30pm, Sat 5pm til late

Accepts MasterCard and Visa only for bills over $30