Even before I moved to Sydney two and a half years ago, I knew that Ryo’s was the place to be if you wanted good ramen. The small and unassuming restaurant next to North Sydney Boys High School has a constant line of customers waiting outside patiently for their fix of sweet sweet ramen.
Not one minute after we joined the line late one night, the waitress comes out and tells us that we’re their last customers of the night, and asked us to turn away anyone else who tried to line up behind us. We ended up breaking the hearts of at least five other groups of hopeful diners, all the while gloating that we just made it into the line in time!
My brother orders a classic ramen in soy sauce flavoured rich broth topped with gorgeous anime-esque swirly fish cakes (kamoboko). With the soft boiled egg, bamoboko and crispy sheet of nori, the bowl looked like something right out of the cute Japanese cartoons that I used to watch as a kid – and tasted just as good!
After a mouth-burning experience, I decided to order ramen in ‘spicy hot’ soup for something a little more challenging – and even took the step of adding extra chilli. A boxful of nose-sweat soaked tissues later, I think I challenged myself sufficiently! While the soup doesn’t have that initial chilli burn, it does linger and stay with you – you might not actually feel the full effects until ten minutes after you finish the meal!
As for the rest of the dish, the noodles had that great al dente bite to them on the initial taste, and they slowly softened the longer I spent on the meal. The crunch of the sesame seeds added a nice texture to the meal as well, and the pork was lovely and tender.
K ordered a special dish that’s not normally seen on the menu – ramen with pork, egg and nori in a fish-based soup. The soup was absolutely amazing – chock full with the strong, pungent flavours of fish and shellfish. As something a bit different to Ryo’s usual meat-based stocks, it’s a nice change of pace but with the same great toppings.
We also ordered something that was new to the menu – Ryo’s own homemade pork buns. While the buns didn’t have the same soft white fluffy consistency of the buns you get at a Chinese yum cha restaurant, this had a great chewy texture. Most importantly though, the bun hid within it the softest and tenderest pulled pork filling – the type that brings tears to your eyes with pure unadulterated joy.
We finished the meal with a serve of the soft shell crab – wonderfully crispy and crunchy on its own with an amazing crab flavour. When dunked in the remnants of ramen broth, it takes on an extra dimension of flavour which quite transforms it to something special.
Overall, I rate Ryo’s a 9 out of 10 – I’ve always enjoyed all the meals I’ve had at Ryo’s and am always guaranteed to walk away with a satisfied smile on my face, like the cat who got the cream. For a great price, you’ll get a great meal.