Down a narrow, nondescript laneway in Kyoto, locals and tourists line up for bowls of oily burnt-miso ramen. Amber flames flare up in the kitchen at Gogyo, a restaurant known for its buttery broth, which stays with you long after your final sip.
The process of making this ramen involves heating lard in a wok to an extremely high heat, then adding miso paste or a special soy base (there are two styles). When the fluid comes into contact with the super-hot lard it goes up in flames. The chef lets it burn for a few seconds, then chicken broth is added, which extinguishes the smoke and fire and becomes the broth. It’s topped with chashu, cabbage and a flavoured egg.
“It’s a cooking method found by us, you can’t taste it anywhere else,” says operator-manager Sho Yoshimura.
Gogyo is opening its first Australian branch in the former Salaryman space in Surry Hills. Gogyo already has three branches in Japan and one in Hong Kong.
“Given the very receptive and vibrant restaurant culture in Sydney and in Surry Hills [particularly], we thought it would be interesting to bring in a new style of ramen,” says Yoshimura. It will be modelled off a “drink, dine and finish with ramen” concept. Alongside ramen there will be a-la-carte dishes that make the most of the robata grill. There will also be beer, sake and cocktails made with Japanese spirits.
The designer behind Salaryman, Paul Kelly, will rework the look of the new restaurant and incorporate traditional Japanese elements.
Salaryman announced it was closing in July. Its owners plan to open again by the water.
Gogyo is owned by Chikaranomoto Global Holdings, the same company behind Japanese ramen chain Ippudo, which has four locations in Sydney. It serves a 25-year-old tonkotsu recipe made from pork bones simmered for hours.
Gogyo is slated to open on Albion Street in Surry Hills in December.