Spice Alley gets the 'most stylish' gong for Sydney Food Courts. The wall art, hanging lanterns and wooden tables give it an aesthetic that set it apart as something a little different from our usual haunts. Ky-oto is right at the far end of the alley which means there's often a seat at busy times. The lure of a new ramen joint sends us in to look around.
It seems nowadays you must have a mural of women when you want to decorate with an 'exotic' Asian theme. There's a few of these around the place, pretty asian gals all in a row. Just for a change we'd love to see some guys for once, some Toshiro Mifune or Tsutomu Yamazaki from Tampopo or maybe just this guy...
On to the soup.
Miso Ramen, $11.00. The ramen is served in a melamine bowl that resembles the usual ceramic version, at least this is one instance where disposable plastic isn't being used. What would be better is real spoons, or at least the sometimes difficult to slurp from large ladles that come with soup. The soup itself isn't overly miso strong, with half a soft googie, bean sprouts, nori and a thin slice of chashu pork as toppings.
Gyu don $11. This is served in a plastic bowl, something that just makes food just that little less satisfying. The serving isn't large, but then you don't really want a huge bowl. It could even be a little smaller and a few dollars less. At first the beef seemed dry on top of the rice, but after aminute or two there was a lot more sauce revealed under the pile. Always happy for shredded pickled ginger on top, we wish you could serve yourself so you could add it to the ramen as well.
Tonkotsu ramen $11. The standard pork bone broth with standard toppings. Added by the kitchen is a small dollop of takana which livens up the broth (you can help yourself to pickles and ginger at Hakata Maru at Market City, we love that.) Here you can help yourself to minced garlic, ginger, sesame and chilli which gives some variety to the soup when you add some in half way through.
Spicy Tonkotsu Ramen $10. We're not sure why this soup is $1 less than the others when you still get egg, chashu pork and noodles. Anyhoo, it still tastes good with a chilli edge to the broth. It's not super spicy and you can add more chilli if you need it.
Wall menu, there's udon, more don varieties and karaage to try.
Okonomiyaki, takoyaki, side dishes and snacks.
Ice cream options.
Inside the eating area is a display of Go-Shu sake containers, but we couldn't see any sake for sale.
Ky-oto (which is also variably spelt Kyo-to) is at Spice Alley, 18 Kensington Street Chippendale.