In Short: Gogyo specialises in Hakata Kogashi Ramen, which hails from Hakata, the ramen capital of Japan. Besides their excellent food, their service is impeccable, which makes for an excellent dining experience.
I love my noodles, and I am not even ashamed to admit that I love them more than rice! To me, noodles are like a one-bowl-wonder, packed full of tasty goodness and so easy to cook and eat. Because noodles are so versatile, every country and culture has their version, but nowhere are noodle dishes more prevalent than in Asia.
For many foodies, the premier Asian noodle dish has to be Ramen (ラーメン), which is a Japanese noodle soup. A good ramen consist of 4 components: the noodles, the broth, the seasoning, and the topping. Depending on its region of origin, you get different types of Ramen dishes by variations of these components to create its own distinctive taste, from the tonkotsu (pork bone broth) ramen of Kyushu, to the miso ramen of Hokkaido.
Gogyo (五行) Ramen originates from a narrow, nondescript lane way in Kyoto Japan, where they are famous for their burnt miso-broth ramen. It is a common sight to find locals queuing alongside tourists outside their Kyoto shop, waiting patiently in line to get their hands on a bowl of charred flavour butter broth with perfectly cooked ramen noodles. Fortunately for us living in Sydney Australia, we can finally have an opportunity to taste the famous Gogyo ramen without having to take the 12 hour flight to Kyoto. And, it’s only appropriate that the storefront in Sydney resembles a facade you would chance upon in Gion, to give it that authentic experience.
Gogyo, which is managed by the Ippudo Group, has opened a branch of Gogyo Ramen in Sydney’s Surry Hills area, where the former Salary Man restaurant was once located. Once word got out about Gogyo’s opening, queues started to form outside the restaurant that could easily rival the ones in their Kyoto shop.
Firstly, part of the Gogyo dining experience is its impeccable service. All their staff are dressed in synchronised black and grey uniform, very courteous, friendly and accommodating, which is no mean feat considering the size of the line waiting outside their restaurant! The place is comfortably and beautifully outfitted with communal tables, bar counter seats where you can eat and watch the chef in action, tables along the wall and a couple of small table interspersed around the restaurant to comfortably accommodate everyone. This is a very family friendly restaurant as well, so you will find a lot of couples, family and kids dining at any one time. Gogyo’s service even goes as far as looking after your clothing, providing bibs with their noodle dishes.
A signature item on Gogyo’s menu is their Kogashi Shoyu ramen, which features a charred shoyu based chicken broth. The making of the broth is quite an art in itself, as lard is heated up to a high temperature in a wok. Shoyu is then added, filling the kitchen with fire and smoke. The fire is then extinguished by a rich chicken broth. The end result is a thick blackened broth that is rich and intense in flavour. The ramen noodle used for the Kogashi Shoyu ramen is the 16F, which are thin and springy in texture and complements the stock beautifully. Finally the ramen finishes off with a half umami egg and melt-in-your-mouth tender pork belly chashu. Once the bowl is placed in front of you, all you want to do is to get into it and attack it with gusto, but one word of caution, you want to eat this noodle slowly as it is really hot in temperature!
Coco and Viner Sacha opted for the Chilli Shoyu ramen, which is a spicy chicken broth, bamboo shoots, tomato, and coriander. When you first try the broth, you will taste an initial rich and sweet flavour. Then the chilli heat slowly builds up in your mouth. The noodle used for the Chilli Shoyu is the 18W medium, which means the noodles are more curly, reminiscent of instant noodles, yet infinitely more refined. In this ramen dish, the pork is done in two ways. There is the pork mince topping on top of the noodle, then, hidden in the broth are the pork belly chunks, which create an interplay of flavours and texture when combined with the crunchy bamboo shoots. If you love spicy noodles, this is your ramen of choice.
Under their small eats section, for $10 and under, you can get a small bowl of Chashu Gohan rice bowl, which great for little Coco and Viner Sammi. Her Chashu Gohan rice bowl came with shiny, creamy rice topped with sweet chashu marinated mince pork, and thinly sliced nori seaweed strips for extra flavour and crunch. It was so delicious that when Sammi struggled to finish it towards the end, Sacha and me were vying to scoop to the last grains of rice.
Another item in the small eats section that you should try is the Gogyo’s Original Gyoza, Concealed in these shiny pot stickers, is a combination of juicy, rich, pork flavoured filling. It is the perfect size to fit into your mouth and the explosion of flavours as you bite into it, are amazing. It also comes with two types of sauces, a garlicky chilli sauce, and a sweet gyoza sauce, that just elevates the already tasty gyoza to the next level of perfection.
We definitely took a gamble when we decided to visit Gogyo on a weekend during their busy lunch hour without making a booking. Yet we were seated within 20 minutes and slurping noodles not much longer after that! I cannot promise the same luck, and would recommend making a booking to reduce the waiting time and save yourself from the disappointment of being turned away. We thoroughly enjoyed our meal, and coming from someone who has eaten a lot of noodles dishes in her life, this one has definitely risen to the top of my list as one to try.