Remember that ancient Mitre Ten store behind the discount chemist on King Street? It’s now the home of Rising Sun Workshop, Sydney’s first and only communal motorbike workshop and ramen bar.
“As a pop-up we did ramen for lunch and dinner,” says chef Nick Smith, of Rising Sun’s Lennox Street beginnings. “With a proper kitchen and more seats, we have an opportunity to do much more.”
Ramen is now just one lunchtime option, with the same three styles served at the pop-up: light, dark and veg. Noodles are joined by midday bánh mìs (non-traditional, square and exceptionally designed), a full breakfast menu and charcoal roasted skewers for the night-time bar trade, accompanied by Young Henrys beers and cocktails.
“When you have ramen, it's going to inform what you do on the rest of the menu,” Smith says. Breakfast is furikake rice with pickles, sprouts and nuts; kaya toast; Hokkaido milk buns stuffed with egg, cheese and a kimchee slaw; and a “breakfast ramen” with buttered toast broth, bacon, egg and tomato. “The philosophy is; ‘What would a Sydney cafe look like if we focused on our position in the world a little bit more?’ I tried to look at our breakfast culture with a pan-Asian lens.” Daniel Cesarino will be brewing Single Origin coffee and Dimity Genaus will be baking the pastries.
For dinner, Smith’s non-traditional yakitori skewers will be joined by the occasional off-menu dinner special, which he has merrily dubbed the “secret dinner ramen.”
You may also be able to learn something from the motorcycle repairs going on nearby during lunch – the cafe sits on a raised platform right next to the workshop. The building has two storeys, with an upper mezzanine that looks into the kitchen and the motorcycle workshop. It’s a simple but clever design from architect and co-owner Heleana Genaus, with a lot of heritage elements maintained, an impressive feat considering Rising Sun’s DIY, part-crowdfunded build.
The bike workshop will work much the same way as the Lennox Street pop-up, through memberships and hourly bookings. “The rates are kept low because of the commerce of the cafe and bar. For every coffee, cookie and bowl of noodles eaten you're helping someone else access the workspace,” says Smith.
Rising Sun Workshop
1c Whateley Street, Newtown
(02) 9550 3891
Sun to Wed 8am–4pm
Thu to Sat 8am–4pm, 6pm–10pm
Tue to Sat 10am–8pm