[Sydney] The ramen lover in me aims to explore at least one ramen joint in every major city that I visit.
Other than Gumshara at Haymarket, the other highly raved ramen place in Sydney is Chaco Bar.
Technically a ramen and yakitori restaurant, Chaco Bar located on Crown Street was recommended by foodie friend @tomodaichichingoo. It is listed as a “René Redzepi’s Must-Eats”. WOW.
Its location also makes it convenient for a café hopping session at Surry Hills after.
Founder-Chef Keita Abe noticed that there were sushi takeaways everywhere in Australia, and wanted to create a different concept. It is true, I didn’t notice THAT many raman shops in Sydney.
Chaco Bar also aims to provide an authentic yakitori experience like what he had in his native city of Fukuoka, Japan.
The eatery opened in 2014 and has become very popular in Sydney, so much so that there was a 20 minute wait when I arrived slightly before lunchtime. (Very coincidentally, I spotted fellow foodie friends @pinkypiggu and @tomodachichingoo slurping their noodles at the bar un-arranged.)
The interior was industrial yet minimalist, using natural timber and earthy tones to create a warm and comfortable ambience. Dim glow from the lights sets the mood.
Space was slightly cramped though, could seat about 25 people – you can call it intimate.
There was also a communal table inside, where you could see the chefs at work and smell the meat cooking on the coals.
There were 4 basic ramen options when I visited, which included Fat Soy Ramen which came with pork cha-shu, half an egg, black fungus and shallots – AUD$16 (SGD$17.09); Fish Salt Ramen – AUD$15 (SGD$17.90); Yuzu Scallop Ramen with Hokkaido scallop, prawn and John Dory wonton, black fungus and leek – AUD$17 (SGD$18.16); Chilli Coriander Ramen which comes with chicken cha shu, half an egg, coriander and black fungus – $AUD$16 (SGD$17.09)
I had the Fat Soy, which was like what its name suggested.
Luxe, creamy pork broth with meltingly-soft and fat pieces of Cha Shu Pork resting on thin curly noodles. The soup looked dangerously greasy and guilty, but thankfully it wasn’t.
It reminded me of some bowls in Japan, especially in terms of its unadulterated richness level.
The good thing is, you can choose no fat or less fat for the pork back fat. Defeats the purpose, it is?
Note though: The ramen is available at lunch time 11:30pm – 2:30pm Wednesday to Saturday and Monday 5:30pm -9:00pm ONLY. Don’t come on other days and leave disappointed.
The yakitori (grilled skewer) is served Tuesday to Saturday from 5:30pm – 10:00pm.
You can get the Chef’s 6 skewers of pork belly, thigh, crackling, wings, lamb and heart is AUD$28 (SGD$29.91), or order single skewers which cost between AUD$4 – $11.
Chaco Bar makes use of the whole animal, with nothing left to waste, and you can expect wagyu tongue, chicken hearts, gizzard and gristle.
From its popularity and highly raved reviews, it looks like Chaco Bar does cook up some of the best ramen in Sydney, matched with buzzing atmosphere.
Small place, arrive early. No reservations allowed for ramen, with limited servings.