Was it worth it?
Once I heard Chase Kojima opened a new ramen omakase restaurant in Chatswood – I knew I had to make a booking and try it out. Senpai Ramen is a dinner service only omakase serving a curated menu of seven courses for $65 per person.
Hot tip: Boo fast and early. I only managed to get a booking so easily because I was dining alone, but from what I heard it’s already booked out for the entire month!
Chase Kojima must be one of the most well-known Chefs in Sydney’s food scene for Japanese cuisine. With several restaurants already under his belt, he added a new one recently at Chatswood – my old stomping ground for amazing Asian food.
I was excited about the opening since I heard of it in late 2021, and I made sure I grabbed a booking as soon as I could.
Though, admittedly…as a solo diner, I had no difficulties in making a booking at this small 20-seater ramen omakase. (as long as I was willing to eat an early dinner) The dining experience isn’t your traditional omakase experience and you know that from the moment you see the neon lights at the window, welcoming you in.
The decor reminded me of a futuristic, sci-fi punk anime backdrop with the fluorescent purple neon lights and edgy graphic art on the walls. So if you’re thinking of the soft wood finishings from a small quiet omakase restaurant while being served by a sushi chef that has warm grandpa vibes – think again.
At the time of booking, the Omakase menu was $65 for seven courses. You get to choose your ramen, but everything else was fixed. Dessert was also included in those 7 courses.
It’s still early days and from what I hear the menu will change overtime and eventually open for lunch service as well.
Every course was delicious. The textures, the flavours and the order of each course were beautifully orchestrated. I loved how the whole dining experience was only 90min long and I actually rather liked how Senpai Ramen found the middle ground between the super intimate dining experience of a traditional Omakase and the casual ramen joint.
The star of the show was of course the ramen. I ordered the Tonkotsu ramen which is served with a melt-in-your-mouth slice of fatty pork, a ramen egg with black fungus. The broth is an amazing 12-hour concoction of porky goodness.
The broth wasn’t too thick, but still perfectly coats each noodle. Every element was made perfectly to make a bowl of delicious ramen. I drank every last drop of that broth until you saw the bottom of the bowl!
Another star of the night (if I had to only choose one) was the wagyu sukiyaki sushi. There’s a lot going on in this one bite. The thin slice of wagyu beef is perfectly soaked in sukiyaki sauce with chopped tuna on top with this amazingly cooked rice underneath. I know rice doesn’t sound exciting, but sushi rice that’s done right is de-li-cious.