Monday, 28 July 2014

Ryo's, Crows Nest - Sydney

Another contender in Sydney's ramen scene.
Ryo's ramen bowls (and a bit of pickled ginger)

Some even say that this is the best. I beg to differ. But before you throw rocks to me, let me explain myself.

So Anna and I were at Ryo's for a birthday date, and apparently it isn't too long of a walk from St Leonards station. And you definitely can't miss the bright orange restaurant. Even if you're not looking for it, you'll definitely at least shoot a glance at the vivid colour. We arrived there just before 12 and there was no line yet. Hurray!

Ryo's exterior

The interior isn't losing in terms of the colour. It is so yellow inside, accentuated by the yellow-ish lightning too. So pardon the dark and orange-ish pictures, please.

It isn't particularly spacious, and there are tables that can be merged or separated depending on the groups of patrons, and there are also some solo seats on the counter.


The walls are full of menu in Japanese and Chinese characters, as well as their specials and selections of toppings. On the counter there are also self-serve tap water and pickled ginger.


Toppings menu

Even before walking through the door, I knew that I'm getting the fried chicken or karaage. How could I not? There was satisfying number of the golden and crunchy fried chicken on the plate, accompanied by a dollop of kewpie on the side. Every bite was an exciting foreplay between crunchy batter and succulent  meat.

Fried chicken - $8

Since I wanted to try both types of their soup (chicken and pork based), I went for the chicken one while Anna took the pork.

My ramen in Tokyo style soy sauce soup (chicken based) was as pretty as a picture, but I probably won't say that this is the best bowl of ramen in Sydney. The broth was light and tasted clean, and all the toppings worked really well (especially the super tender roast pork!). I would love the egg to have softer yolk though.

Since I am more of a Gumshara-thick-broth kinda girl, Ryo's broth was rather too light for me. But then again, it depends on our personal taste.

Ramen in Tokyo style soy sauce soup (chicken based) with roast pork, egg, bamboo shoots, and nori - $ 13.5

The noodles though, were astounding. Every strand was cooked to perfection; stringy but not wire-hard. The noodles were the best ones I have ever tasted. Hands down.

Close up of the toppings; no yolk porn!

Ramen in miso flavoured soup (pork based) was equally light, but had more oily trace. It was definitely lighter than any pork-based ramen soup I've had, and I reckon it'll be perfect for those who aren't too keen about collagen-ladened soup.

Ramen in miso flavoured soup (pork based) with egg, ,roast pork, shallot, and bamboo shoots - $13.5

Same awesome noodles. Still can't get over about how splendid the noodles were. Did I say they were the best ramen noodles I've had?

The perfectly cooked noodles

So now you know why I didn't go head over heels about Ryo's. Having said that, I still the that the place is really good. And don't skip an order of the fried chicken!


Currency: $1 = IDR 11,000

Rating: 4/5 (Recommended)
Best ramen noodles I've ever had (as in, only the noodles), service is quick and friendly, ambiance is warm and cozy but prepare to wait for a table, price is reasonable.



125 Falcon St 
Crows Nest, NSW 2065

Phone: (02) 9955 0225

Ryo's on Urbanspoon

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Thursday, 24 July 2014

Caffe Tiamo, Sydney CBD

This probably will make you green with envy.
Melon bingsoo from Caffee Tiamo

Heh. Sorry, I had to do that.

You'll probably think it's too cold for such icy food right now, but hey, it will cause you no harm. And believe me, this will be worth it. Besides, Caffe Tiamo on Pitt St is warm enough to shelter you from this chilling-to-the-bone weather, and apparently they have nice hot drinks as well.

Signage and counter

I am actually quite impressed about how the little place is arranged. Cute decorations and props are scattered all around the place, including colourful books, little lamps, little plant pots, and some vintage-looking pieces.


They manage to create distinctive dining setting with upper and lower seating spots, as well as a hidden table in a crook at level 2. The colours used emit such a warm and friendly ambiance, keeping you feeling warm and comfortable from the first sip of your drink to the last drop. This is a great place to sit down and do some work with your laptop while having a cup of hot chocolate (or coffee, or matcha latte if those are more appealing to you).



Their backyard-slash-garden seating also looks seriously comfy, especially when the wind isn't too fierce and the temperature increase a few degrees. At night the place looks even more romantic with twinkling and colourful lights.

Backyard seating

I was there in a group of seven, and we were looking for something sweet and cooling after an exciting and delicious lunch. Melon bingsoo was chosen, based on the other 6 people's fav. Apparently I was the only one who hadn't visited the place yet.

Melon bingsoo - $20

It was literally a half of a melon (or honeydew, or musk melon) filled to the brim and more with delectable things. The melon's flesh was scooped into little balls and placed ever so neatly (and beautifully) to cover milky shaved iced under. To make it interesting, small pieces of mochi sat among the melon balls, and to top it off there was a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The whole thing was served with a generous dollop of red bean.


I really love the various textures combination. The shaved ice was flaky, milky, and not too sweet. The sweetness came mostly from the melon balls, and also the creamy ice cream. Chewy mochi pieces were fought for, as they went really well with their other softer fellows.

It had great level of sweetness, and plus, we could even still scraped some melon flesh from the melon bowl.


Definitely a dessert to share. Unless if you are confident that you can finish the whole mountain by yourself.


Just after the entrance there is a wall full of small brown patches with random card clipped on. They look like coupon cards but I can't be sure. But it is unique and eye-catching for sure.

Random coupon cards (?)


Currency: $1 = IDR 11,000

Rating: 3/5 (Worth the try)
Note that this is based on a visit and a menu/dish only. Melon bingsoo was really nice, ambiance and the place overall was very comfy and casual. Service was friendly and quick, price is affordable. 



374 Pitt St
Sydney, NSW 2000

Phone: 0404 025 525

Facebook: Caffee Tiamo

Caffe Tiamo on Urbanspoon

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Monday, 21 July 2014

678 Korean BBQ, Haymarket - Sydney

Do you know what's good for this weather?
Korean BBQ feast

Korean BBQ. Oh no, wait, scratch that, Korean BBQ is good for all kind of weather.

678 Korean BBQ is one among the million options in Sydney, and often said to be one of the better, if not the bests. It is owned by Kang Ho Dong, whose cut-out figurine will welcome you at the entry, a South Korean comedian and ex-wrestler.

Kang Ho Dong (owner) cut-out

The venue is capacious, dominated with wooden and warm colours, giving you a pleasant and comforting vibe in an instant. What caught my eyes quickly was the wall full of photographs and autographs of famous Korean actors/actresses, musicians, and celebrities.


And apparently Running Man casts went here when they came to Sydney a few months ago. I will sound really biased here, but if it's good enough for them hilarious members, it's good enough for me.

Running Man casts' autographs


I have been here two times. The first time was with the Koreans celebrating the end of semester, and none of them shared the same idea of mine to get the charcoal BBQ. Losing votes, I had to go with their favourites. And I didn't regret one single thing.

The boys went straight to soju (Korean vodka; about $10 a bottle) ordering, but I was more interested in the banchan (side dishes) spread. From addictive fried little fish (ikan bilis/teri?) to the obligatory kimchi; all was there. They even gave dried seaweed sheets (nori) which is perfect with rice and a light dip into the soy sauce.

Banchan (side dishes)

Two portable mini stoves were brought out to our table; one was for the bright-red spicy chilli pork (dwaeji bulgogi/돼지불고기). It was meant to be mixed together with the veggies and mushrooms atop, but be careful not to overcook the meat as it is cooked already. We were lucky to have someone with a culinary background (not me) among us, every slice turned out juicy and tender. The flavours were bursting too, although it didn't have strong jabs of chilli like I expected.

Spicy chilli pork (min. 2 people) - $13


Under the colossal mountain of shredded shallots, there were some slices of soy marinated beef scotch fillet somewhere. It was the shallot bulgogi, came with another mini stove and a grill-slash-pot filled with sweet, warm broth.

Shallot bulgogi (soy marinated beef scotch fillet - lunch special) - $16

On the plate were also mushrooms and sweet potato noodles, and we put them all into the pot. The result was more than belly-warming, it touched our souls with great depth of sweet and savoury notes from the broth, tender beef slices, and slippery mushrooms and sweet potato noodles. A superb dish to have while watching strong winds swaying the branches from the window.

Cooking the shallot bulgogi


Two days later, still with the same chilly winds, a friend and I went back for the charcoal BBQ. This time, the banchan dishes were different, with some additions of pickled radish with gochujang sauce, sweet steamed potato, soy sauce with chilli, chilli-soy bean paste, and a small bowl of steamed egg. The latest was a surprise, at first I thought they gave the wrong dish to the wrong table. Turned out it was included in the BBQ set. It didn't have much flavour but sure was smooth and definitely warmed out throats.Plus, I love everything with eggs.

And don't forget the leaves. From perilla to lettuce, even raw green chillies and capsicum; they covered it.

Banchan, steamed egg, and leaves for charcoal BBQ

We didn't tried many meat dishes but we made sure a plate of pork belly went to our table. Apparently it was different cut from the thin slices of pork belly I usually encounter (samgyeopsal/삼겹살), as this one had more fat and was called ogyeopsal (오겹살). The two slices were thick and it took a while to cook it through. Although it was tender with melting ribbons of fat, I still prefer the thinner version.

The boneless marinated beef short rib (yangnyeomso kalbisal/양념 소 갈비살) was faultless. We cooked it until it had pink centre and every cut tasted divine. Especially wrapped together in perilla leave with some rice, kimchi, pickled radish, onion, chilli paste, and grilled green chilli.

Top - bottom: pork belly ($19) and wagyu 6+ marinated boneless beef short rib ($21)

We only ordered two meat dishes but man it was full-on. Note the presence of onion in sweet soy-sauce-like sauce which I couldn't have enough of and clear cold soup.

Charcoal BBQ spread

Their soy bean paste soup (doenjang jjigae/된장 찌개) was not earth-stopping but it had the all flavours it needed. On both occasions, it arrived piping hot and if you dig into the stone bowl you will find a half of crab with its sweet meat intact. I had fun slurping it out.

Soy bean paste soup - $12

I am planning to try the other meat dishes next time. With these freezing days, I foresee many Korean BBQ cravings in the near future.

If you have your own favourite Korean BBQ places, throw them out to me! Would love to try the recommended ones. Cheers!


Currency: $1 = IDR 11,000

Rating: 4/5 (Recommended)
Great dishes with reasonable prices, charcoal BBQ is satisfying, especially with the countless banchan, service may not be too attentive but is quick, ambiance is nice and comfy.



1/ 396 Pitt St 
Haymarket, NSW 2000

Phone: (02) 9267 7334

Facebook: 678 Korean BBQ Sydney

678 Korean Bbq on Urbanspoon

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