What a great year of fooding it has been. My abundant food reviews on the website have dropped a lot due to my new self-employed job as a food photographer and restaurant marketing manager. Sheesh – I thought working for myself would give me a lot more free time. Bahahahahahaha. 2019 will see a better balance so I can keep the site up to speed – I miss writing all the reviews!!
But one of my favourite 2018 activities has been working as a co-host on the WTF video series. It has been a blast of many ups and downs with CC, Pat, Eugene, Sophia and Gerald. But the largest up has been they are an all-Asian crew and most of them are Asian foodies. This has opened up my dining experiences beyond what I could have ever hoped for.
One said venue that I still dream about is GUMSHARA. These guys are famous for the best pork broth (tonkotsu), or more gravy, ramen. Something I was scared to indulge in, I started hearing “collagen” and “super-thick broth” and the further it got from my comfort zone the more panicked I was I would have to fake it on camera. My gawd – have no fear, I fell so in love with the thick broth it was one of my favourite restaurants and dishes of the year.
GUMSHARA’S ODD VENUE:
Gumshara is in a food court! The Eating World Food Court at the start of Chinatown’s Dixon St in Haymarket. The food court is partly underground, packed to the rafters, lots of fluro lights, odd coloured fixed tables and seating, with absolutely nothing visually appealing that would entice me to visit. But word on the street was that this has been the most (arguably) popular ramen in Sydney for years.
Gumshara is the brainchild and creation of Mori Higashida, a Japanese expat who couldn’t find good authentic ramen noodles in Sydney. So he quit his day job, went back to Japan and did an apprenticeship at the famous Muteppou noodle restaurant in Kyoto. He then returned to Sydney and set-up shop in Eating World food court in 2009. And then it went crazy with not only the Japanese Sydneysiders flocking to the food court but also the foodies of Sydney. And now it owns the title “institution.”
WHAT WE ORDERED:
Spicy BBQ Pork Ramen Noodle
Super Mega Ramen Noodle
WHAT ELSE YOU NEED TO TRY:
We only ate three dishes but they could have fed six people. There are a lot of dishes to enjoy at Gumshara – personally I will struggle to order anything else as the Super Mega Ramen Noodle is the pinnacle of international ramens but……..
I have heard nothing but greatness about the Spicy Garlic Tonkotsu Ramen Noodle. And the Tonkotsu Ramen Noodle is one of their signatures, as is their standard BBQ Pork Ramen Noodle. My foodie partner Tammi from @teafortammi said I had to try the Thick Tonkotsu Fish Flavoured Ramen which is on the list to do at some stage.
Besides the ramen there are thirteen additions to your meal you can have as sides or ramen additions. Adding a boiled egg or eggs is a must for me on every occasion. It adds not only colour for pics but it soaks up the ramen broth and is my favourite part to eat at the end of the bowl. Dumplings and rices, of course, and for the seriously crazy thick broth loving collagen worshippers you can actually have pork back fat added to your dish.
WHAT WE THOUGHT:
Gyoza dumplings = wonderful, crispy outer and extra juicy inner. But what mind blows at Gumshara is the tonkotsu. Tonkotsu simply translates to “a broth made from pork marrow.” It is no wonder I fell in love with their ramen – bone marrow is my favourite dish at any restaurant serving it – Mjolner for the win!
There is no arguing the marvel that is the tonkotsu broth. Fun fact – they use up to 250kgs of pork bones in a SINGLE DAY to make the broth this good.
We both loved the Spicy BBQ Ramen Noodle, CC felt it could have been more spicy but she likes to add chilli to her chilli. For me it bordered on extreme heat (Gaijin tastebuds haha), but the heat is pleasant as it creeps up on you.
Gumshara prides themselves on using no MSG or salt. Everything comes from the pork broth/gravy. It is thick – I mean I describe it as broth porridge but if you want it thicker or thinner this can be adjusted for you when ordering. They water it down for you to make it lighter and they add up to three levels of pork back fat to make it thicker if this is your desire. I think it was perfect as is but each to their own.
SUPER MEGA RAMEN NOODLE:
The ultimate ramen of the year for me, a dish I have dreamt about since visiting, better ramen than I ate in Japan, and a ramen I will indulge a lot more of in the cooler months of 2019 is the amazing Super Mega Ramen. It is a giant dish of their signature tonkotsu broth, more cement consistency gravy, with your choice of thick or thin noodles. It also comes with a pork spare rib, BBQ pork, a pork skewer and an egg. I would recommend adding a second egg and you could easily share this bowl – it is HUGE! I watched in awe a Uni student down the entire thing in under 10mins as if he was eating a bowl of lettuce, I was full before starting my own just by watching him!
All the pork is so tender I could nearly cry in joy – it fell apart to the touch. It does help the spare rib is cooked for 24hrs. It has a caramelised outer and the inside is so juicy from the slow cook but more so from the soaking up of the broth. My words can’t do justice as to how much I love this dish!
I only just discovered Gumshara offers cook-it-yourself packs of the ramen to take home. I shall be visiting with a big esky sometime soon. But for my Super Mega Ramen fix this will only be happening at the Gumshara store in Haymarket – it is ramen perfection made from years of mastering the art of ramen by Chef Mori Higashida. If you get a chance to meet Shingo while you are there say hi – he is a wonderful funny gentle soul who literally knocked on the door years ago as he wanted to learn the craft. He is now one of the chefs at Gumshara. Don’t let the food-court dissuade you, this restaurant is a gift from the ramen gods.
SCORE BREAKDOWN: 3/3 food, 2/2 service, 1/1 drinks, 0/1 venue & ambience, 1/1 cost, 1/1 toilets & 1/1 bonus
PH: 0410 253 180
Eating World Food Court, 25-29 Dixon St, Haymarket NSW 2000
PRICING: The most expensive dish is the Super Mega Ramen Noodle for $28.50.
Mon & Sun: 1130am – 830pm
Tue – Sat: 1130am – 9pm
LOCAL DELIVERY: No
VEGETARIAN OPTIONS: Minimal
GLUTEN FREE OPTIONS: Check with venue, I don’t think so.
KID FRIENDLY: Yes
*** Spooning Australia dined with WTF ***
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