You’re on your lunch break with only 10 minutes to spare. What do you grab? Kym Reilly and Daniel Chu think it can be a whole lot more interesting than a sandwich or salad. The co-owners of new CBD spot Chu Chu are serving ramen, slow-cooked pork ciabatta rolls and rice bowls with onsen eggs. And the menu’s designed so you rarely have to wait more than three minutes for your food. Really.

“Normally if you go out for brunch, you need at least an hour and a half or even two hours. That’s why people always do it on a Sunday, when they’re not working,” says Reilly. “Daniel designed the menu so that it’s basically a three-minute wait. You’re just waiting for that egg timer, and you’re out the door.”

Chu Chu is the culmination of about two years of planning. It opened last month in Topham Mall. Best friends Reilly and Chu met while working at Bank Street’s Sit Lo, where Reilly is a shareholder and Chu the head chef. Reilly is also a shareholder of Honki Tonki, whose menu Chu helped design.

The menu at Chu Chu – breakfast and lunch designed to go – informed the choice of location, which is a busy thoroughfare for city workers. A large window opens to the mall for people to collect their orders from.

The food, all made on-site, leans Japanese but draws from multiple influences. Chu’s Malaysian background plays a role, as does Chu and Reilly’s travels around Asia. Expect traditional Western breakfasts with Asian tweaks: toasties with kaya (coconut jam) and buns with fillings such as tempura eggplant or hoisin ketchup. Even the eggs Benny pocket has an Eastern twist; Chu’s hollandaise sauce is infused with kaffir lime leaves.

Black sesame buns baked at the restaurant are a mix of black sesame and charcoal powder with a texture somewhere between brioche and a standard bread loaf. The buns are their own menu category and are used for both savoury lunches and desserts (the fried ice-cream buns come in matcha, Thai milk tea or original).

But Chu Chu’s most popular dish so far is the ramen, of which it makes three types (miso, spicy and vegan). “Everything is made from scratch,” says Chu. “The paste, we make ourselves. The broth is a slow-cooked pork broth, with miso paste, bonito and nori flakes.” Tahini is used in the vegan option for a creamy texture.

The emphasis might be on grab-and-go eats, but the Studio Alumni interior – wood-filled, clean and minimalist – invites you to stick around for a while.

Chu Chu
Shop 6–7, 54 Waymouth Street
Topham Mall, Adelaide
(08) 7230 4171
Mon to Fri 6.30am–4pm