In Japan, there’s a minor thrill in finding a ramen bar in unlikely corners – unassuming alley ways, busy railway stations, the turn of a street corner. Here in Sydney, you might reloop your footsteps once you walk by Rising Sun Workshop in Newtown and realise that this communal motorcycle garage does double-duty as a noodle joint, too.
Even if your hunger has no overlapping interest with bike-tinkering, Rising Sun Workshop easily redirects your attention with its slurp-worthy selection.
Run by Nick Smith and Daniel Cesarano (who were previously at Single Origin Roasters), this establishment gives you three reasons to be nose-deep in a noodle bowl: there’s ‘The Darkness’, which builds its long-simmered broth from smoked ham hocks, pork and soy – and a serious dash of ‘darkness and fear’, too, we’re told; ‘The Light’ gets a savoury boost from bonito, chicken and a triple-dose of salt: black volcanic, truffle and pink Murray; ‘The Monk’ does not abstain from flavour, and is a crash site for miso-cured eggplant, picked shiitake, boiled egg, and a generous lacing of ginger, all banked on a miso-konbu base. Unlike a lot of vego-friendly ramen, ‘The Monk’ is neither a salt bomb or a watery tragedy, but is grounded in a satisfying, flavour-layered broth. You can have a vegan version without the egg, too.
Will didn’t battle any darkness or fear with his noodles, but his ramen was a chopstick-hunt through ‘earth bones and smoke’ (as the menu describes): a meat-saturated broth that was a dark, heavy distillation of the hours of simmered pork and ham hocks; his bowl dense with pork slices, egg, seaweed, shiitake, bamboo and noodles that were crafted to have plenty of chew. Like a proper tonkotsu experience, he definitely had the sweats after conquering it.
If you smash through your ramen and need to apply some delay tactics because this light-filled establishment – with its timber-slatted surrounds, vintage-style signage, bright-red benchtops and repurposed Young Henry’s bottles – seems a little too nice to leave, there’s good coffee (of course, given the crew’s Single Origin Roasters history), excellent house-made ‘Ginger Boy’ soda, iced green tea and a line-up of sweets, too (salted caramel and dark choc sponge cake, donuts dusted with mandarin sugar, etc).
Good news, Rising Sun Workshop has had its lease extended, so this pop-up will be open until around September. And PS, The Monk has gotten a feisty transformation – it now has burnt butter corn and kimchi salsa.