Surry Hills' Butter sets Sydney into a frenzy when they introduce fried chicken ramen to the menu during the colder months. Now vegetarians can get in on the hot soupy action, with the restaurant flipping their ramen offering to a plant-based bowl for just one more week.
The thick paitan-style ramen takes six hours to cook, using a kombu stock and infusing it with charred veggies and chickpeas. It is then seasoned with cashews, shio koji, fermented bean curd and preserved mustard. It also incorporates tare, a soup seasoning made from caramelises diced leek, carrot, onion, garlic, ginger and sweet green apple, with help from everyone's favourite flavour pals, soy, mirin and sake. To complement the soup base there's a fried field mushroom on top (which would fool any fried chicken fan on first glance), plus enoki mushrooms and a half marinated egg.
Executive chef Julian Cincotta claimed 'It's as good as the fried chicken ramen', and we can verify that claim – it's excellent. The soup is super dense in flavour – but not too unctuous like a typical ramen broth – and there is a surprising hum of salty umami-ness that we can only liken to a roast chook. The noodles are dense and springy, and the fried mushroom could easily be mistaken for a strip of fried chicken (although we ended up ordering a box of that too – it's an indulgent but excellent combo).
Butter's vegetarian ramen is available until Sunday September 2 at both the Surry Hills and Parramatta kitchens, so get in before it's gone for the season.