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Sunday, May 11, 2014

Rising Sun Workshop, Newtown

Ramen noodles at Rising Sun Workshop, Newtown

EDIT: Rising Sun Workshop has now moved to new premises on Whateley Street.

Motorbikes and ramen? It seems like an unlikely pairing but it somehow makes sense when you step inside Rising Sun Workshop, hidden in the back streets of Newtown. The looming warehouse has been home to an art gallery, yoga centre and even a coffin manufacturer, but right now it's home to the pop-up motorcycle workshop, Rising Sun.

The idea is that Rising Sun will provide a communal workshop space for motorcycle enthusiasts to fix, maintain and rebuild their machines. It's a concept modelled on similar motorcycle spaces in San FranciscoVancouver and Melbourne, offering members space, tools and technical know-how. The name harks back to one of the site's original tenants, the Rising Sun Service Station - Australia's first drive-in garage.

Ramen menu at Rising Sun Workshop, Newtown
The Darkness, The Light and The Monk ramen at Rising Sun Workshop

Rising Sun is more than a workshop space. They've set up a coffee shop and ramen bar as well. Chef Nick Smith (ex-Single Origin Roasters) is the lone ranger in the kitchen, sharing his ramen obsession with inner westies.

Chef and co-owner Nick Smith at Rising Sun Workshop, Newtown
Chef and co-owner Nick Smith in the kitchen

It's a tiny space in the corner, but Smith has everything organised neatly. The ramen is cooked in wire baskets to his right. Behind him are the giant pots of simmering broth, ready for ladling.

Spanner docket holder at Rising Sun Workshop, Newtown
Spanner docket holder

The dining room itself is a welcome burst of brightness and light, with a soaring ceiling overhead and buckets of sunshine streaming through the rolled-up garage doors. The tables are bright red, there's a huge mural on the back wall and there's plenty of space to manoeuvre. It's a world away from most other Japanese noodle bars, usually underground, noisy and crowded, with elbow-to-elbow style dining.

Adding ajitsuke tamago egg to ramen at Rising Sun Workshop, Newtown
Placing the finishing touch: ajitsuke tamago or marinated soft boiled egg

With only one chef in the kitchen, don't expect your ramen to be bundled out in mere minutes. Even with orders backed up underneath his spanner, Smith is a picture of quiet concentration, sending out each bowl of ramen with considered care and attentiveness.

The Light ramen at Rising Sun Workshop, Newtown
Ramen ready to go on the pass

The menu is distilled into three options: The Darkness, The Light and The Monk. The Darkness is described as "bones, earth and smoke", a dark rich broth made from pork tonkotsu, soy and smoked ham hocks.

The Light ramen at Rising Sun Workshop, Newtown
The Light: Equal parts air and ocean $15

The Light - described as equal parts air and ocean - layers two types of stock: chicken and fish, made from bonito, kombu, mackerel and sardines. It's seasoned with three kinds of salt too, Italian truffle salt, black Hawaiian lava salt and pink salt from Australia's Murray River.

The broth doesn't have the heaviness of tonkotsu but there's a pleasant weightiness that comes from the chicken and fish soup.

The Monk ramen at Rising Sun Workshop, Newtown
The Monk: Walks a miso road $15

The Monk uses a miso broth for its base, proving that vegetarians and vegans don't always have to miss out on the fun. It's surprisingly hearty in flavour, resplendent in mushroomy umami notes, and has enough chilli powder on top to get your tastebuds firing.

Eating The Monk ramen at Rising Sun Workshop, Newtown
Slurping time

The ramen noodles are a highlight, springy and firm with a satisfying chew. The only quibble is that the soup feels more lukewarm than hot, but that just means you can chow down your noodles without having to slurp noisily to cool them.

Runny egg yolk on ramen at Rising Sun Workshop, Newtown
Barely set runny egg yolk

And then there's the masterpiece that is the ajitsuke tamago or marinated boiled egg. The golden yolk is undercooked to a barely set stickiness, worth savouring in one mouthful for ultimate bliss.

Pork slices come with both The Darkness and The Light, thick slabs of fat-ribboned pork belly that fall apart in the mouth. Then there are the slices of shiitake mushroom, pickled bamboo shoots, greens, shallots and the semi-submerged nori seaweed sheet.

Egg and bacon scrolls by Strawberry Fields Patisserie at Rising Sun Workshop, Newtown
Egg and bacon scrolls by Strawberry Fields Patisserie in Dulwich Hill

If you're still hungry or looking for takeaway, the egg and bacon scrolls (supplied by Strawberry Fields Patisserie in Dulwich Hill) are a tempting mobile package. They're the only pastry brought in. All other cakes and pastries on display are made inhouse by co-founder and resident baker, Dimity Genaus.

Dark chocolate cake with salted caramel buttercream at Rising Sun Workshop, Newtown
Dark chocolate cake with salted caramel buttercream

The three-tiered dark chocolate cake with cherry on top had my eye from the moment I walked in the door, and even though your belly might be full of soup and ramen, there's always a little extra room for dessert.

Dark chocolate cake with salted caramel buttercream at Rising Sun Workshop, Newtown
Dark chocolate cake with salted buttercream $6.50

She's a beauty. The dark chocolate cake is sandwiched generously with layers of fluffy salted buttercream, but really the cake is so soft and moist, you could quite easily eat it on its own.

Strong flat white coffee at Rising Sun Workshop, Newtown
Single Origin strong flat white $4

Daniel Cesarano (ex-Single Origin Roasters and Melbourne's Seven Seeds) is the resident barista. They use Single Origin beans here, but Cesarano is also fond of running other beans he likes through the grinder.

Whatever you do, be quick. The pop-up only runs for another four weeks while they scout for a more permanent site. You can also sign their petition, urging Marrickville Council to amend zoning restrictions to allow hybrid business models (in this case a vehicle repair station and a cafe) in extended areas.

UPDATE 12/06/14: Rising Sun Workshop should now be open until at least September 2014

Entrance to Rising Sun Workshop, Newtown

Rising Sun Workshop on Urbanspoon

Rising Sun Workshop
36 Lennox Street, Newtown, Sydney
(corner Lennox Street and Mary Street)

Ramen bar 
Lunch daily:11.30am-3pm
Dinner Thursday to Sunday: 5.30pm-7.30pm 

Coffee and cake 
7am-4pm daily

EDIT: Rising Sun Workshop has now moved to new premises on Whateley Street.

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28 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 5/11/2014 03:09:00 am


  • At 5/11/2014 4:12 am, Anonymous Padaek said…

    Love the look of this place. I can see myself slurping a bowl of the light and then driving off into the setting sun on my Harley. Only problem is I don't have a Harley, but I do have an appetite for hot ramen, and those eggs look magnificent too! Hope they find a permanent place. :)

  • At 5/11/2014 11:07 am, Anonymous angela@mykikicake said…

    What a cool concept. Except for the coffin making, that's a bit freaky. Ramen looks so yum!!

  • At 5/11/2014 12:09 pm, Anonymous ChopinandMysaucepan said…

    Dear Helen,

    I'm impressed with the one-man show in the kitchen and the ramen looks great too.

  • At 5/11/2014 2:21 pm, Anonymous JJ - 84thand3rd said…

    How cool! Not a particularly insightful comment but the first thing that popped in as I read your post. Also, now I want miso ramen...

  • At 5/11/2014 8:52 pm, Anonymous Lawrence @ FightTheCraving said…

    Omg the egg! Admittedly every time I'm up against a good gooey egg for my ramen, I never take it in bites.

  • At 5/11/2014 9:21 pm, Anonymous Cindy (a foodie's joy) said…

    Gee, the ramen looks good. And that egg!

  • At 5/11/2014 9:28 pm, Anonymous Michael @ I'm Still Hungry said…

    Definitely one of the more unusual combinations I've seen - I'll hold on the motorbikes, but I'll come for the ramen!

  • At 5/11/2014 11:12 pm, Anonymous Daisy@Nevertoosweet said…

    Wow that's really cool :) and I know so many of my guy friends will be so impressed hehe while the cakes make me most happy!

  • At 5/12/2014 7:49 am, Anonymous john | heneedsfood said…

    I'm surprised that we still have such antiquated zoning restrictions in this day and age. Councils really need to get their shit together so that places like this aren't so far and few between. Go Nick!

  • At 5/12/2014 10:08 am, Blogger Jarhead said…

    These bowls of Ramen look fantastic! And the names of the Ramen styles are great. Thanks for the review!

  • At 5/12/2014 11:13 am, Blogger Jacq said…

    I've heard about this place but didn't realise it was a pop-up! I'll have to pay it a visit for that tonkotsu ramen before it disappears!

  • At 5/12/2014 11:15 am, Anonymous Rachel said…

    I went here for a coffee the other day, have yet to try the ramen but you have piqued my interest... I think a lunchtime excursion is in order. YUM!

  • At 5/12/2014 11:35 am, Anonymous Chris @ MAB vs Food said…

    This place looks really cool! You had me sold with the eggporn and ramenporn pics :D

  • At 5/12/2014 12:05 pm, Blogger Pearls of Style said…

    Really like the sound of this place with it's quirky combinations. Love the names of their dishes - the creativity is great.

    Krissie x - http://pearlsofstyle.blogspot.com.au

  • At 5/12/2014 1:21 pm, Anonymous Kat @ KatCakes said…

    Place looks great, unique concept with the combination of motor cycles and noodle bars. Ramen looks super delicious as well :) great find!

  • At 5/12/2014 2:47 pm, Blogger Unknown said…

    That Ramen looks delish and I can't keep my eyes off that coffee! How gorgeous does it look, especially alongside the dark chocolate cake with salted buttercream! There goes my belly rumbles.....again!

  • At 5/12/2014 3:37 pm, Blogger Ramen Raff said…

    Bowls of ramen looks freakin' boss!! Errmahgerd two of my loves, ramen and coffee in one joint! Hells yeah!

  • At 5/12/2014 4:10 pm, Blogger Milktea Eats said…

    this is a pretty mad combo, sydney neds more things like this!

  • At 5/12/2014 6:40 pm, Anonymous chocolatesuze said…

    woah that ramen looks awesome! and i really want that cake. like, i NEED it.

  • At 5/12/2014 6:51 pm, Anonymous Gourmet Getaways said…

    Nice name - suggestively Japanese! I love the taste of ramen with kombu. I want!

    Gourmet Getaways

  • At 5/12/2014 8:41 pm, Blogger Unknown said…

    I know ramen is meant to the highlight of this post but mannnnn i can't get my eyes of their eggs, esp their egg and bacon roll!!

  • At 5/13/2014 2:15 pm, Anonymous Alice said…

    I'm always on a great noodle hunt, so I'm definitely adding the 'darkness' broth to my list. If ever there was proof that noodles are poetry, this is it ;)

  • At 5/13/2014 2:52 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    this is a pretty awesome idea..and that broth looks so rich and flavoursome

  • At 5/13/2014 5:43 pm, Blogger Annie said…

    been going to newtown a lot lately so will definitely keep an eye out for this joint next time i'm in the mood for ramen

  • At 5/13/2014 6:02 pm, Blogger CQUEK said…

    love to have one bowl right now..

  • At 5/14/2014 7:47 am, Blogger Sarah said…

    Such a cute idea, I love it!

    The eggs looks perrrrrfectly cooked. :) And that dark chocolate cake is perfection! I only wish I could bake so perfectly!!f

  • At 5/15/2014 12:52 am, Anonymous sara | Belly Rumbles said…

    When I first heard about Rising Sun, I thought it was a brilliant idea. We are lucky and have a garage for Mac to work on his bike. Plus he is very bike mechanics knowledgeable. If he wasn't and we didn't have the space, what a great hub to head to.

    I love that there is a food angle to this establishment.

  • At 6/19/2014 12:00 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Love the ramen and will be back with friends. Go Nick!! :)


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