Chase Kojima – Sokyo’s lauded executive chef – is expanding his empire. Earlier this year he launched luxury fast-casual sushi and sashimi diner Simulation Senpai. Now, he’s set to follow it up with Senpai Ramen: a 25-seat omakase-style (chef’s choice degustation) diner that leans heavily on his ethos of using the best possible ingredients no matter the dish. It is the second in a planned slate of eateries from the chef, each exploring and celebrating a different style of Japanese cuisine.
Senpai Ramen will open in Chatswood early next year. And despite its name, it’ll be about so much more than ramen. It’ll start with “beautiful snacks”, Kojima tells Broadsheet, with sushi to be expected among a range of other bites. “I love snacks. And then once [diners are] all warmed up and happy and down with the drinks, then boom – ramen.
“I’m going to try to make the absolute best ramen in town.”
Save 20% when you buy two or more Broadsheet books. Order now to make sure they arrive in time for Christmas.SHOP NOW
The focus will be the porky, collagen-heavy, tonkotsu-style ramen – but with unconventional garnishes. Think 12-hour simmered abalone, and “the most delicious” Wagyu cooked on charcoal and sat on top. Kojima says he wants his ramen to be a “little bit different, a little bit upmarket – fine-dining ramen”.
It’ll be served in custom-made ramen bowls that are costing him around $100 each.
“You can’t do the best ramen if you don’t have the best bowl,” says Kojima. But that’s not all. “I think our secret weapon is this state-of-the art kettle that I bought. I custom designed my kitchen so we can install this $100,000 kettle.”
The kettle will help take the grunt work out of stirring a ramen broth packed with pork bones for six to eight hours a day. The kettle mixes on its own at the perfect speed, has sensors to help it cook faster, and tilts itself – usually a back-breaking job that requires up to three people.
Kojima’s “secret ingredient” will be head chef Teppei Yura (pictured above in the state-of-the-art kettle). There’ll also be cocktails by PS40’s Michael Chiem.
The chef also wants to help push forward Chatswood’s late-night dining scene. While the diner will close around 9.30pm, it’ll eventually do takeaway until late.
“For the people who live in Chatswood who want to dine out late, people who work late, there’s nowhere to go in Chatswood. I want to invite these people to come in,” says Kojima. “Eventually, the goal is to open 24/7.”
Senpai Ramen is slated to open in Chatswood in February 2022.