So I heard about this pop up ramen/motorcycle repair shop from word of mouth. I have to say I do love the workshop, open-air, eclectic vibe to the place. The staff know their stuff, are friendly, and the place has a down-to-earth, relaxed, dare I say ‘trend-setting’ vibe to it.
Now down to the food. There are three types of ramen on offer:
- The Darkness ‘bones, earth and smoke’: shoyu tonkotsu or pork style broth ($15)
- The Light ‘equal parts of air and ocean’: Chicken, bonito and 3x salt broth ($15)
- The Monk ‘walks a miso road’: Miso based broth (can be veg or vegan) ($15)
Upfront, I enjoyed all of them, but I think I would go for ‘The Light’ again and again. In all three I loved the beautiful, just-set, egg. The yolk is gorgeous and runny inside still. The pork belly in The Darkness and The Light is tender and melt-in-your-mouth. I particularly want to make note of the bamboo shoots and the mushroom, which I think have been marinated in a vinaigrette of some sort. It is not like your average mushroom, it packs a punch, and particularly in The Monk, I think gives a good balancing, fresh, full-flavoured element to a vegan dish.
The Darkness is a very full-some broth, made with smoked ham hocks and pork tonkotsu. This is very delicious, slightly heavier than The Light.
The Light is very interesting. The flavour isn’t as rich as The Darkness, but as you go for a second and third and fourth mouthful, the flavour really develops. You can taste both the chicken and fish stock (bonito, kombu, mackerel and sardines), and it has more of a smokiness to it, than The Darkness. The three types of salt incorporated into The Light stock are truffle salt, Murray River pink salt and black Hawaiian lava salt.
Third, but by no means last, The Monk is actually, I think, the most skillfully executed out of the three ramen. It take a lot of skill to be able to deliver a full-flavoured stock without meat/bones of any kind. I have seen other establishments struggle with miso-vege stocks. The broth has a slightly heavier consistency to The Light and The Darkness, but very well executed.
Apart from the ramen, customers can get coffee, tea, drinks, cakes – and yes I was eye-ing the chocolate muffins with potato chips – such a clever idea, but I was too full. The other pastry delight on offer is of course the famous John Scroll from Dulwich Hill: Strawberry Fields Patisserie.
Definitely a place I would come back to again!
Value for money: 9/10
Overall Score: 35/40