Eastwood, the land of the long late lunch. And fish ice cream.
[LAST UPDATED APRIL 2013]
The clock on Eastwood Arcade is always set to midday because its always lunchtime in Eastwood.
We've had no breakfast and we've been lugging around boxes of books all morning for our (excuse the blatant plug) travel bookshop. The ramen cravings have set in. This is our third visit to Zenya Noodle Bar in Eastwood, and certainly not our last.
Zenya Noodle Bar is flasher than your average street food joint, a great place to bring a nervous eater. The place has a nice chilled vibe with dark mood lighting, but being food blog nerds we sit near the window where we can get some light for our photos.
We watch the old Japanese fella making the soups and get the impression has been doing it all his life. Or maybe he's an IT dropout\occupational slummer like me. Who knows, who cares, he makes a dang fine ramen. It's a pork based broth flavoured with soy above (sho-yu ramen), or miso as shown below. It's an excellent ramen: great broth, great noodles and great fixin's.
We have been on a mission to find the best ramen in Sydney which is much easier said than done. We find we like the noodles best at one place, the noodles at another, and the pork slices somewhere else, perhaps there is no one perfect ramen. What we need is a Ramen Dream Team: if we get all the different ramen chefs together we could create the perfect soup. I'm sure we could get a government grant for this.
Zenya could have a spot in the Ramen Dream Team with their beautiful soft boiled googie egg. This googie is supersoft, it has a very salty aftertaste, we guess from being marinated in soy or the like.
We pay for two ramens and get change back from $20. "Cheaper than McDonalds" the bloke at the counter says.
After a salty lunch we crave a sweety, so we head to the Korean Grace Oriental Grocery a few doors down.
On our trip to Japan we fell in love with Japanese ice creams, we think the Korean ice creams may be identical.
I just love this fishy ice cream, I first had one in Japan.
He is the coolest ice cream in the whole world.
And he tastes awesome, and thankfully nothing like fish. Mr Fish is vanilla icecream covered in wafer with a little sweet sauce which I guess is red bean.
Miss Chicken goes for the Korean green tea ice cream.
He tastes great and is a bugger to photograph. The ice creams are super cheap at only a $1.50 each, a perfect complement to ramen. How do they import an ice cream all the way from Korea and sell it for $1.50?
We find some Japanese chocolate for laters, it's a little darker than your Cadbury Dairy Milk, very nice. The guy at the cashier also takes the time to instruct Miss Chicken on how to cook the various noodles she has bought, what a nice fella.
[BACK AT ZENYA NOODLE AGAIN APRIL 2013]
We've eaten a hell of a lot of ramen since our last visit to Zenya in 2010, including a couple of trips to Japan, so we were surprised and ecstatic to find the ramen here even better than we remembered. It is top notch stuff with lovely broths and al dente noodles, all ramen nerds should give this place a whirl.
Kogashi-ninniku ramen - $11.80. A pork broth given a wonderful kick with slightly charcoaled garlic. That slightly 'burnt' flavour from the garlic is well balanced with the soup. Hats off to the chef. The soup is topped with bean sprouts, nori paper, dried mushroom, bamboo shoots, roast pork and a lovely soft boiled googie.
Negi-Miso Ramen - $11.80. Pork soup given a big sweet rich miso kick. Man we love miso ramen. Topped with the usual bits as well as some fresh finely shredded leek and corn.
We order gyoza and salad as a set. Love the salad dressing.
After a stroll around, a little shopping, main course and dessert it is still midday in Eastwood, the land of the long late lunch.
Zenya Noodle Bar is at 217 Rowe Street in Eastwood, a menu is available on their website.
Go to Grace Oriental Grocer a couple of doors down for great Korean ice creams. That's an order.