Food News

Sokyo Ramen, Sydney

Pop-ups, it seems, are as much the province of Sydney's hospitality biggest players as it is young-gun chefs...
Pat Nourse

Pop-ups, it seems, are as much the province of Sydney’s hospitality biggest players as it is young-gun chefs throwing things together on a wing, a prayer and an Instagram promo. Merivale has just flipped the switch on Eric Koh’s dim sum residency at Work in Progress, and in the cunningly named Pop Up stall at The Star’s food court this spring you’ll find Sokyo Ramen by Chase Kojima. Kojima’s deftness behind the sushi counter has proven that he’s much more than a mayonnaise-jockey ronin chef slinging Vegas-style disco-sushi for the cocktail-addled and the pokie-glazed, and in this brand extension he shows a new string to the bow.

The ramen isn’t without its big-casino huckster touches, mind. There’s a hashtag printed on the swatch of nori garnishing the soup, for one thing. There’s also a thicket of mizuna dressed with yuzu on top. Does anyone really want salad on their ramen? The idea of using pork cheek in place of the usual chashu, meanwhile, may initially send shivers through the bowels of more delicate diners, but in practice the meat is well rendered and has an appealing roast-pork flavour that works well.

Could the noodles be springier? Could they have more bite? Sure. But the broth (in the shio, Kojima’s recommendation, at least) is refreshingly light. Like the soup at Chaco Bar, it’s made on a chicken stock base rather than the pork broth of the sort favoured at cult tonkotsu vendors such as Ramen Ikkyu and Gumshara, and has body without too much weight or stickiness. In addition to the shio and shoyu versions (both $15), the stand offers a “lightly rich” tonkotsu, and a tantanmen made with a spicy miso butter (both $16).

There’s not a lot in the way of bells and whistles (this is a food court, after all), but fried chicken is offered as a side, there’s fresh juice and a house-made yuzu and aloe soft-drink in addition to bubble tea, ramune and bottled green tea, and though the chopsticks are disposable, they’re the self-same smooth, fancy ones used at Sokyo. Smooth and fancy: Chase Kojima all the way.

Sokyo Ramen by Chase Kojima, 10 September to 30 November, 11.30am-9pm Sun & Mon, 11.30am-10.30pm Tue-Thu, 11.30am-11pm Fri-Sat; café court, ground floor, The Star, 80 Pyrmont St, Pyrmont, NSW

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