Last Sunday my sister and I left the Organic Expo between 2:30 and 3 pm looking for a place to have a quick and cheap lunch. There was food in the expo, but the few options that were left at that time didn’t appeal to us.
We stopped on Hay Street with a few choices in front of us. I saw the Ramen Kan sign and remember having seen it featured somewhere (the Sydney Time Out magazine, as I later found out), so I thought it was safe to give it a shot, despite its dodgy entrance: a lift with one button missing tucked in a building that looks semi-abandoned. Outside the building, as well as inside the lift and on the window upstairs you can find the menu to decide what to order on your way to the restaurant.
The place was packed but there was a small 2-seat table free. In the menu all items have a photo and all soup photos have a cute drawing on the upper left corner that identifies the animal where the stock came from. I thought it was a brilliant idea, particularly because I’ve been suffering from my allergies lately and I’m avoiding pork at all costs. I was going to order the Tokyo ramen, prepared with chicken stock according to the picture, but when I asked the waitress what was in the soup besides the clearly identifiable egg, she told me there was sliced pork. It would be nice if they added that to the description of the dish.
Even when my intention was to try the speciality of the house (ramen soup) I decided to leave it for another occasion, allergy-free and able to taste a proper one (ie, made with pork stock). Instead, I chose the teriyaki yakisoba from the vegetarian menu, which looked good in the photo. My sister ordered the vegetable tempura, also from the vegetarian menu.
Both dishes arrived fairly quickly, with a shredded turnip salad on the side. My yakisoba arrived in those hot cast-iron plates, which is a good idea for meat or vegetable dishes, but not for noodles. It sticks and overcooks. The taste was nice, but the vegetables were three 2-inch pieces of green onion. Basically, I paid $11.50 for noodles with teriyaki. What a rip-off.
My sister’s meal looked better but wasn’t. The big bowl had 80% of rice and two rounds of “tempura” (which actually looked more like fritters) that had some veggies and a prawn. The good thing is that she didn’t order this particular dish because she’s vegetarian or allergic to seafood, but can you imagine if she was? She felt ripped-off too, but on the bright side she paid $1 less than I.
We left of course a bit disappointed about the experience and craving a lotus paste pastry from that emperor-something bakery on Dixon Street. There were no small cakes and the cheapest big ones (which are not that big, around 8 – 9 cm in diameter and 3 – 4 cm tall) were $9 each. We went to a few more shops but didn’t find what we were looking for, so we settled with a schooner of James Squire in Paddy Maguires.
1/90 Hay St
Haymarket NSW 2000
(02) 9211 6677