Inhaling ramen with a whiff of petroleum in a defunct hardware store… could anything be more Newtown than the Rising Sun Workshop? Yes, ducking into the old Mitre 10 on a drizzly Wednesday evening for dinner certainly had me raising an eyebrow.
It’s a relentlessly hipster community space where you can dismantle your Ducati, rebuild your Buell, or tinker with your Triumph while at the same time be assured you won't be eating factory farmed food. Yes, as well as a bike shop, they're a daytime café that’s also open for dinner Wednesday to Saturday evenings.
Safely ensconced on a banquette on the lower level, we’re tended to by warm, friendly staff who explain there’s only one ramen on offer at night. Tonight’s Secret Ramen (Shhhh!) ($22) involves duck hearts, duck eggs and bok choy in a duck bone broth, neatly ruling out my vegetarian dining companion.
While she tackles the Eggplant Katsu Burger ($14) with ‘slaw and pickles, I dip into the noodle soup. The noodles are not quite al-dente, but the barbequed duck hearts are tasty and tender. I find the broth a bit muddy and indistinct, lacking the obvious building blocks that make ramen broths interesting to eat from start to finish. It's my view that are many better places to eat ramen in Sydney, though admittedly not many where you can do it with craft beer on tap, boutique wines, and cocktails.
With my nose in a very pleasant Ginger Ginboy ($15) ‘alcopop’, I’m neatly distracted from the scent of motor oil.
It allows me to reconvene with my vegetarian dining companion over an unnamed Parsnip ($14) dish, that we're told is standing in for the carrots. Combining parsnip miso puree, fat parsnips roasted in local honey and crisp parsnip chips under a shower of hazelnuts, it’s simple, sweet and easy to like. Despite this dish's success, I'm not quite sold on this spot (blame my fuel-sensitive nose). I am however told by locals in the know that their Breakfast Ramen ($17) with buttered toast broth, bacon, egg and tomato is a thing of beauty... so they might win me over yet.
Rising Sun Workshop
1c Whateley Street, Newtown
Ph: (02) 9550 3891