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Monday, July 25, 2016

Rising Sun Workshop, Newtown

Breakfast ramen and prison bento at Rising Sun Workshop, Newtown

Prison bento? I bet they don't get these at Litchfield Penitentiary. Instead you'll find it part of the breakfast line-up at Rising Sun Workshop, finally opening up on bigger - and permanent - premises on what was once a Mitre 10 shop. Its original pop-up, only a few blocks away, first introduced Sydneysiders to the symbiosis between ramen and a motorcycle workshop. The new digs boast a much bigger space, an expanded menu and a proper kitchen for head chef Nick Smith.

Upstairs dining area at Rising Sun Workshop, Newtown
Upstairs dining area

Ground floor seating lets you sneak a look at everything going on in the motorcycle workshop area while basking in the buzz around the coffee machine and in the kitchen. Upstairs a high-ceilinged dining area yields plenty of communal table seating. Tables are large enough so you don't need to sit at the next person's elbow, but create a pleasing sense of energy whether you're dining in a group or on your own.

Prison bento at Rising Sun Workshop, Newtown
Prison bento $15
Rolled egg, pickles, miso soup, sesame stalks, silken tofu, yoghurt and rice

The cafe sticks with three menus: breakfast daily from 8am-11am, lunch daily from 11am-4pm and dinners from Thursday to Saturday from 6pm-10pm.

At lunchtime you'll find the same ramen ramen from the original pop-up, a poetic trio of The Dark, The Light and The Monk. Smith has also thrown in a couple of banh mi (grilled kurobuta belly or black pepper tofu). There's always a vegetarian version of each dish.

Tamago rolled egg and steamed rice with umeboshi pickled plum in the prison bento at Rising Sun Workshop, Newtown
Rolled egg and steamed rice with umeboshi pickled plum

Breakfast offers a quirky mishmash of Asian influences. The prison bento is a cheeky reference to its presentation on metal food trays, commonly found in prisons but also used in Indian cuisine to present multi-dish thalis. The compartmentalised recesses are perfect for keeping individual curries separated from your rice and pappadums.

Housemade pickles in the prison bento at Rising Sun Workshop, Newtown
Housemade pickles

Smith assembles a multi-textured vegetarian journey, not too far removed from a traditional Japanese breakfast. That means a collection of silken tofu, cooked vegetables, crunchy pickles, a rolled omelette called tamago, a splodge of yoghurt and steamed rice. Even the miso soup comes in a metal cup. Protein seekers can add grilled fish for an extra five dollars.

Breakfast ramen with buttered toast broth at Rising Sun Workshop, Newtown
Breakfast ramen $15
Buttered toast broth, bacon, egg and tomato

Breakfast ramen is one of the those things that you wonder why noone has ever thought of before. Smith infuses the ramen broth with actual pieces of buttered toast, then ladles it into bowls of ramen with bacon, egg and grilled tomato. It doesn't get more East meets West than this.

Breakfast ramen with buttered toast broth at Rising Sun Workshop, Newtown
Ramen noodles

Crinkly noodles are cooked to a toothsome chew, the bacon is crispy, the fried egg has a gooey yolk, there's a sweet acidity from the tomato, and yes, you really can taste buttered toast in the broth. I relished this much more than I thought I would. It works terrifically well.

Next time I'm definitely headed for the Hokkaido milk buns. The version with mushroom, egg and cheese is said to be mindblowingly good.

Single Origin Roasters coffee at Rising Sun Workshop, Newtown
Flat white with Single Origin Roasters beans

I love that you can have ramen and a really great coffee here. Chief barista, Daniel Cesarano, worked at both Single Origin Roasters and Melbourne's Seven Seeds, and pumps out coffee that is sweet and robust.

Dark chocolate and ginger cookies at Rising Sun Workshop, Newtown
Dark chocolate and ginger cookies

Dimity Genaus makes all the treats you'll find in the sweets cabinet. It's a glass cabinet filled with temptation.

Breton bun at Rising Sun Workshop, Newtown
Breton Bun $5.50

The Breton Bun is like a kouign amann pastry laden with cinnamon sugar. The flaky caramelised scroll unravels to reveal crisp layers of pastry. Add the crunch of cinnamon sugar and you've got one helluva addictive indulgence.

Sticky date banana loaf at Rising Sun Workshop, Newtown
Sticky date banana loaf $8
with creme fraiche and granola dust

And the sticky date banana loaf is like some crazy tasty hybrid of sticky date pudding and banana cake. A generous dollop of creme fraiche helps allay any overriding sense of sweetness, but the favourite part of this ensemble is that granola dust. It's like crack. I have no idea what's in it, but I need more.

Making a podcast with Lee Tran Lam for the Unbearable Lightness of Being Hungry at Rising Sun Workshop, Newtown

Grab Your Fork on 
The Unbearable Lightness of Being Hungry podcast

Rising Sun Workshop was actually the location of my interview recording for The Unbearable Lightness of Being Hungry podcast. Lee Tran Lam has been food blogging since 2007 and broadcasting her podcast since 2012. As a regular listener of her podcast, it was an unexpected honour - and rather surreal experience - to be on as a guest and answer the rota of questions I almost know off by heart!

To listen to the podcast, check out Lee Tran's post.

Grab Your Fork's 
food photography tips for Good Food

I was also interviewed by Good Food on my tips for great food photography. I even like that the haters have already left their mark in the comments section! Check out the article (and witty and insightful comments) here.

Rising Sun Workshop, Newtown

Rising Sun Workshop Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Rising Sun Workshop
1C Whateley Street, Newtown, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9550 3891

Opening hours:
Breakfast daily 8am-11am
Lunch daily 11am-4pm
Dinner Thursday to Saturday 6pm-10pm

Related Grab Your Fork posts
Newtown - Mary's
Newtown - The Pie Tin
Newtown - The Stinking Bishops

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13 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 7/25/2016 02:27:00 am


  • At 7/25/2016 7:34 am, Anonymous John - heneedsfood said…

    I've been wondering what would be filling the Mitre 10 site. Great that they open for brekkie relatively early, too. Those breakfast ramen have my name all over them!

  • At 7/25/2016 10:47 am, Anonymous Bianca@forfoodssake said…

    Yeah Helen stop with all your selfies!! Hehehe! Kudos to you re the podcast. You're one of the 'pioneers' in the food/writing/blogging world so it's well deserved.
    The sticky date banana loaf sounds hella intriguing.
    I remembered when Rising Sun first came around a year or two back and I missed out, I'll have to get my butt there!

  • At 7/25/2016 3:37 pm, Anonymous chocolatesuze said…

    Yesss the breakfast ramen is so good! And great podcast heh thanks for the shoutout <3

  • At 7/25/2016 8:29 pm, Blogger Unknown said…

    Oh wow. The ne Mitre 10. Cant wait to try. Helen, I really can't, I just can't understand why people need to comment on things that they don't understand or like. Why can't they just look and move on. You go girl....you are a great eater and photographer and I hang on every bite....

  • At 7/27/2016 11:34 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Wow - those comments..... I wonder if they were just hangry :-) Nice to know how to take decent food piccies - usually I forget to until I've started already (usually headfirst so no chance of rescue or a nice unmessy forkfull). Alex

  • At 7/31/2016 8:03 pm, Blogger irene said…

    Great podcast Helen! :) and I've heard so many good things about Rising Sun!

  • At 7/31/2016 8:08 pm, Blogger Sarah said…

    Ooh, that breakfast ramen looks amazing! WANT!

    But I wouldn't say no to those dark chocolate and ginger cookies, or the Breton bun. <3

  • At 8/01/2016 3:57 pm, Anonymous Amanda @lambsearsandhoney said…

    Oh, now I really want one of those Breton buns. Pity it's such a long commute for me. ;-)

  • At 8/02/2016 12:26 am, Anonymous Lee Tran Lam said…

    Helen, I can't believe I'm so behind on my blog-reading that I missed this earlier! In any case, this is a belated but monumentally grateful THANK YOU for being one of the all-time greats on the podcast! (Levins backs me up on this one!) It was really amazing to have you on the podcast, you've been someone I've wanted to interview on it for years, so I'm glad it finally happened!

    It's been great to get such a good response to it, everyone I met is such a Helen/GYF fan, so perhaps that's no surprise! I think there's also a reason that everyone has responded to the original (pre-social-media) reasons food blogging began. (Not done for likes or to rocket up follower counts. But just because people like food!) And you were enthusiastically photographing food before it became "a thing" anyway. Thanks for being one of the Sydney food blogging pathbreakers and for sharing so many co-ordinates to fantastic places to eat in Sydney. Many of us have eaten incredibly well or had memorable mealtimes because of you!

  • At 8/04/2016 9:21 am, Anonymous Amanda | Chew Town said…

    Firstly, I'm heading here for the awesome breakfast dishes alone and I think I'm staying for the lunch and dinner menu. Secondly, I'm definitely listening to your podcast tonight. Thirdly, I can't believe those comments. People really LOVE lumping all "bloggers" in together don't they. Whenever I have dinner with other bloggers, the photography process takes but a minute before we all happily go about eating with the food still piping hot!

  • At 8/05/2016 5:15 pm, Anonymous Joseph - UpForAFeed said…

    Haters are going to hate , the comment sections way too often turn into people trolling looking for a reaction.

    Anyway cool little article in Good Food, your photography is always great!

  • At 8/23/2016 3:18 pm, Blogger Unknown said…

    Top tips Helen. I hope my friend Jocke who posts a lot of brown food pics (from travels in Eastern Europe) reads them.

  • At 12/29/2016 7:10 pm, Anonymous Sara | Belly Rumbles said…

    Sorting out my early 2017 must eats. Yes I'm a little behind on blog reading, gahhh. But seriously need to try their prison bento. On the other hand, haters are going to hate, amazes me.


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