Gyoza, included in the $3 ramen upgrade for 3 gyoza & salad,
(otherwise order separately for $5.80 for six)
Pork and vegetable dumpling with Japanese soy
and citrus dipping sauce
The ramen adventure continues.
K & M are still making their way through their photocopied list of Top 15 Ramen in Sydney, photocopied from a Japanese community magazine. They've already eaten at Zenya and are keen to go back again, this time with second opinions ie. fellow rameniacs.
As we drive past to look for parking, G-man wails "Oh nooooo... it's clooooooooosed!" He's almost inconsolable. I'd seen the doorway too, noting its dark and non-lit appearance.
We park anyway and head towards the restaurant, fingers crossed. Thankfully it's not true. Zenya is open. The front room just has zero lighting [see photo at the end of this post for proof!].
Genmaicha roasted rice green tea
The noodle bar is narrow but deep, with long lounges along the wall and bench seating on the other side of each table. Small metallic exhaust fans hang over each table, a reminder that this was once a Korean restaurant, we presume. It's busy and constantly full, mainly populated with students.
We're impressed with the simple but elegant genmaicha green tea. The roasted rice grains add a sweet nuttiness to the green tea, and the tea pots and matching cups are pretty to the eye as well.
Tempura assorted $12.80 (main-size)
Light crispy tempura that includes prawns, sweet potato, pumpkin,
onion, eggplant and beans
We start by sharing a plate of assorted tempura as an entree, a pleasing crunch of crisp batter.
Side salad, included in the $3 ramen upgrade for 3 gyoza & salad
Half of us have upgraded our ramen to include the side salad and three gyoza. I'm particularly impressed with the gyoza which have a zingy fresh filling of pork and cabbage, and satisfying golden fried bottoms. The skins have thin and delicate, and their more-ishness takes me straight back to Japan.
DIY chopstick rests - two styles
The do-it-yourself chopstick rest, constructed by folding the protective sleeve of your chopsticks, is now a ritual for me. I have to laugh when I see the version by Mr Potato Head -- he shrugs and says rolling it is faster and just as effective.
Spicy tontoro ramen $12.80
Lighted salted chicken flavoured soup noodle
topped with succulent pieces of spicy pork, bean sprout,
nori paper, dried mushroom, bamboo shoots and boiled egg
And then it's ramen time. According to the menu, all the ramen soups are pork-based, in stocks that have been processed for over 50 hours.
Spicy miso ramen $11.80
topped with bean sprouts, nori paper, sliced mushroom,
bamboo shoots, corn, boiled egg, roasted pork and fresh chilli
I'm going halves with G-man. We start with the spicy miso ramen, not quite as hot as we'd expected, although the fresh chillies do add some heat. The bowl groans with crunchy slivers of wood fungus mushroom, sweet juicy kernels of corn, slices of bamboo shoot, wilting bamboo shoots and a halved just-set boiled egg, the yolk solid but slightly squidgy (yum).
The highlight is the roasted pork, a pale slice of pork belly shimmering with ribbons of fat, the flesh so tender it practically melts in the mouth.
Teriyaki chicken udon $11.80, or $14.80 with 3 gyoza and salad
Soy flavoured white-wheat noodle soup
topped with wakame seaweed, shitake mushroom,
chopped shallot, fish cake and teriyaki chicken
Citrus pepper ramen $12.80
Lightly salted chicken flavoured soup noodle blended with citrus pepper,
and topped with bean sprout, nori paper, dried mushroom,
bamboo shoots, boiled egg, corn and roasted pork
We swap bowls halfway and I slurp my way into the citrus pepper ramen (my choice). There's an energising and uplighting flavour of lemon, yuzu and pepper to the soup, sweetened with the juice-bursting kernels of corn. Again the roast pork is satisfyingly tender.
Current personal ramen rankings as at 19 Jan 2009:
#1: Ryo's Noodles
#3: Tokyo Ramen
#5: Ichi Ban Boshi
#6: Ramen Kan
Ryo's Noodles still has the thickest and most flavoursome (and saltiest) stock, and I think their noodles have the best chewiness or al-dente factor.
And for those interested in seeing the Top 15 List of Ramen in Sydney, check back here on Tuesday :)
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Zenya Noodle Bar
217 Rowe St, Eastwood, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9874 2122
Lunch Tuesday to Sunday 11.30am-3pm
Dinner Tuesday to Sunday 5.30pm-9.30pm (til 10pm on Fri & Sat)
Closed on Mondays
Related GrabYourFork posts:
Japanese ramen -- Ajisen Ramen, Haymarket
Japanese ramen -- Ichi Ban Boshi, Sydney (Feb08) and (Aug05)
Japanese ramen -- Menya Japan Noodle Bar, Haymarket
Japanese ramen -- Ramen Kan, Haymarket (Aug 05), (Nov 04)
Japanese ramen -- Ryo's Noodles, Crows Nest (Mar08), (Aug07) and (Jul07)
Japanese ramen -- Tokyo Ramen, Hornsby
Eastwood - Da Wan Lai (Chinese)
Eastwood - Zenya Noodle Bar (Japanese)
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1/19/2009 01:37:00 a.m.