15th August 2018
World Square Shopping Centre
644 George St
Sydney, NSW 2000
Around the time I was leaving for Sydney, there was one thing in Melbourne that was seriously bumming me out – the lack of good ramen I’ve yet to eat. Though Melbourne is no longer the ramen desert it once was, following the growth of the ramen scene in real time meant that I’ve demolished every option on all the ‘best of’ lists I could find. Luckily, I was moving to a city where they had discovered the merits of good ramen long before Melbourne caught on, so my dry spell was over!
Case in point: I had actually intended on going to Ichiban Boshi for my noodle fix, only to find them unceremoniously closed for renovation. Thankfully good ramen is never more than a stone’s throw away in Sydney, and after just minutes of flicking through my meticulously compiled ‘to eat’ list, we were on our way to Ramen Zundo.
I was immediately taken with Ramen Zundo, and the way it reminded me of Japan. It’s a no-frills sort of place that nevertheless exhibited care and pride for what they do, and the focus is on doing one thing, but doing it perfectly. Indeed, it’s the kind of place I can imagine people drop in to on their way home from work most days of the week, simply for the comfort of a good bowl of noodles after a long day.
The signature ramen here is the Original Tonkotsu ($14). The first sip revealed a deliciously porky and umami flavour, the thin layer of fat on top of the broth making each spoonful creamy and indulgent. But the best bit was that despite the richness of the soup, the overall taste and mouthfeel was still light enough to make for dangerously easy drinking.
Even more impressive to me were the noodles. Although everyone has their own preference for what the perfect noodle is like, the medium-thick, slightly wavy kind in this bowl were my absolute favourite. Cooked to al-dente perfection, each bite was satisfyingly toothsome and nourishing, soaking up the broth to mix with the distinctive, slightly alkaline taste from the kansui used in making the noodles.
Feeling remarkably unadventurous for the night, I forewent the spicy tonkotsu and tsukemen for the Tonkotsu Soy ($15). The difference between this and the original is subtle – instead of the rich, mellow porkiness, here the flavour is a little lighter, a little more nuanced, with just a hint of earthy umami. As for which is better, that is entirely up to personal opinion. And before I forget, although I’ve had better and more rave-worthy toppings elsewhere, the charshu and egg here were certainly a match for the noodles and broth.
As I’ve come to expect from Sydney by now, the ramen at Zundo is just fab. I’ve eaten enough good ramen by this point to no longer jump at every half-decent bowl I come across, but Zundo is still one of the better ones I’ve had to date. And considering its central location, and the fact that there seems to be no queue most nights, this may just become my go-to.
Rating: 14/20 – want your bad ramence.
This rating reflects my personal experience at the time of visit.