Monday, May 5, 2014

PaperPlanes' Ramen Nights fly in for winter

Posted by Hendy

Returning for its second year, the Ramen Nights menu from Bondi Beach contemporary Japanese restaurant and bar PaperPlanes is set to warm up the the oncoming winter chills. Landing from tonight and throughout the winter period, PaperPlanes has its ramen game on with a broad menu and $5 specials nights.

PaperPlanes Restaurant and Bar, Campbell Parade, Bondi Beach
Head chef Jin Kung and her team have crafted a unique menu for the beachside restaurant, morphing traditional Japanese dishes with the ideology of the often eccentric and vibrant Japanese pop culture.

Inside the restaurant, there is an extensive ceiling installation of 500 skateboard decks and hanging aluminium origami cranes, while the long bar lit with a purple-y neon light takes inspiration from vibrant Tokyo areas such as Shibuya and Akihabara.

The eccentric ceiling made of skateboard decks and hanging origami
Jin and her team have managed to simplify, albeit quite well, a ramen menu with a two-step ordering system: choose your topping first and base broth second. Three toppings are available: slow-cooked chashu roast pork, crispy karaage chicken and crunchy tempura prawn.

All three topping options are joined with a soft boiled egg, bamboo shoots, naruto cured fish cake, sweet corn kernels, shallots and nori seaweed. There's also a vegetarian ramen option without the soft boiled egg and naruto, and with tofu and cabbage instead.

There are four varieties of broth: PaperPlanes house broth, PaperPlanes spicy house broth, vegetable and konbu seaweed broth (vegetarian option), or the spicy vegetable and konbu broth.

Edamame with chilli salt
We had some starters ahead of our ramen feast, starting with edamame soy beans with chilli salt. The beans were firmer than I had expected, with the chilli salt spicing up the furry bean pods, giving them a salty hit with lingering heat.

PaperPlanes pork belly bun with jalapeno mayonnaise
Braving another spicy offering, we ordered the increasingly ubiquitous pork belly bun with jalapeño mayonnaise and pickled vegetable. Slightly bigger than the average bun, this combined two generous slices of pork belly chashu, turmeric pickled daikon and cucumber slices topped with jalapeño mayonnaise and shallots.

The steamed bun was soft and velvety, and wonderful to hold with the fillings surprisingly fresh on the palate, with just a touch of heat from the jalapeño mayonnaise.

Slow cooked pork chashu ramen with PaperPlanes house broth
To the main game, we had the slow-cooked pork chashu ramen with PaperPlanes house broth. The house broth is made from a combination of chicken and pork, and is simmered for over ten hours. The broth had quite a unique, clean flavour; not as salty as a tonkotsu broth and quite thin.

Immersed in the broth were thin, soft wheat noodles and toppings including half a soft-boiled egg still soft with a semi runny yolk, a slice of the pink-swirled naruto, bamboo shoots, a nori seaweed sheet and two slices of the slow cooked pork chashu.

It was quite a flavourful bowl of ramen; one that did not weigh on you and one that allowed each of the topping to shine through.

Crispy kara age chicken ramen with PaperPlanes spicy house broth
We had the PaperPlanes spicy house broth for the crispy karaage chicken ramen, which uses the same house broth with the addition of spice paste. We found the spicy broth to be light on heat; unlike the lingering heat from the chilli salt.

With similar toppings to the pork chashu ramen, plus corn kernels, the karaage ramen arrived with a separate plate of karaage fried chicken pieces.

Kara age chicken pieces
Definitely a highlight of the night, the light and fluffy batter of the chicken karaage had a subtle light crunch while remaining tender and moist on the inside.

Tokyo POP Plant
To finish on a slightly different, sweet note, we ordered the Tokyo POP Plant; a freshly potted mint sprig in an Oreo chocolate cookie and popping candy "potting mixture".

Digging deeper into the pot, we discovered a layer of lemon cheesecake and crumble. The dessert gave off the energy and vibrancy of the Tokyo pop culture with its bursting popping candies, slightly overpowering tangy lemon curd, and dark but sweet Oreo soil.

Sake, soy sauce on table
To kick off the PaperPlanes ramen adventure, PaperPlanes is offering $5 ramen (with a drink purchase) across the two opening nights of Monday 5 May and Tuesday 6 May, and also on the first Monday of every month.

The $5 ramen special nights include all ramen options as well as a host of other PaperPlanes temptations including lettuce cups, sushi rolls, sashimi, ceviche and PaperPlanes' signature salmon tartare nachos - more details here.

Food, booze and shoes dined as a guest of PaperPlanes.

PaperPlanes on Urbanspoon


Chris @ MAB vs Food said...

It’s so cold right now, which makes it perfect for a bowl of ramen! And I love the cute presentation of the POP plant dessert :)

Kath said...

Sooo... now i feel like ramen.

Hendy said...

So true Chris, I can do with another bowl of ramen just about now, so bloody cold!!!

Unknown said...

More bowls of ramen please... I will certaibly eat more servings of ramen coz its my favorite.

leaf (the indolent cook) said...

I'm loving ramen this autumn. Hope to try this place when I'm next in Sydney!

missklicious said...

It's the perfect weather for ramen at the moment! That pot plant dessert is cute :)


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