Ramen O-San, the Dixon House Food Court stall famous for serving one of Sydney’s most intensely thick tonkotsu broths, has opened a second store in Potts Point. The new store, which is barely bigger than the Chinatown original, is likely to have a very different reputation.
“The speciality is tonkotsu, but we wanted to do something different as well,” says Jun Toyoda, Wok and Noodle Bar’s owner. Different is right. While the tonkotsu appears in a relatively similar form (it’s a bit lighter and uses thinner noodles than the Dixon Street version) the rest of the menu is made up of much wilder ramen varieties.
Chef Kazuteru O-San’s new specialty is the Sydney Black, a mystifying mix of chicken, pork and fish stock; black garlic oil; bamboo shoots; Chinese yam; broccoli; onion; leek; shallots; chilli; mushroom; and a clump of shredded Parmesan cheese. With so many ingredients, and considering its tar-like appearance, you’d expect it to be intense, but it’s not. Probably the closest match taste-wise is steak au poivre; peppery and umami-rich, but hardly crazy or overpowering. “The chef thought about Sydney as a mixed culture and mixed people, so it's something he wanted to create as a representation of Sydney. It’s been quite popular so far,” says Jun.
There’s also a miso ramen made with pork and chicken stock that’s mixed with wok-fried vegetable juices. And a laksa-like vegetarian ramen. “It’s made from vegetable stock and soy milk. It's a creamier version of vegetarian ramen. Maybe it's unique, I'm not sure you can find it anywhere else in Sydney,” Jun says.
Depending on the day and time you go, you’ll also find a range of home-style bento-box fillers, and maybe fish-head soup or gyokai ramen, a viscous tonkotsu and fish-stock blend that’s recently become popular in Tokyo. The fish is provided by Toyoda’s other restaurant, Busshari, which Wok and Noodle Bar backs onto.
The tiny space contains no more than few bar seats (the owners have applied to expand that to 15–20), two outside tables and Kazuteru’s kitchen. “We’ve tried to make it as Japanese as possible. Narrow seating, you can see the chef in action,” says Jun.
Wok and Noodle Bar
Corner of Llankelly Place and Springfield Avenue, Potts Point
0439 945 245
Tue to Sun 12pm–8pm