We need to talk about breakfast ramen. Open for brekky, lunch and dinner, Rising Sun Workshop – half motorcycle workshop and half café – has just opened in Newtown, and it’s serving food with a Japanese bent. The breakfast ramen, in particular, is such a good idea that our heads hurt a little from the excitement. It’s a beautiful big bowl of rich, fatty broth made from an infusion of buttered toast, topped with stretchy, firm noodles made exclusively for Rising Sun Workshop to their own recipe. The whole lot is topped with a just-set onsen egg, shards of crisp bacon and a charred tomato – the savoury, umami depth of which is a strike of pure genius. The broth is perfect by itself but as soon as those stock-absorbing noodles get involved, it turns out it could do with a bit more seasoning to balance it all out. But really we’re just splitting hairs – this is just a gorgeous way to wake up in the morning.
The Prison Bento is more delicate than its name suggests. It comes in a steel thali-tray with little sections for each element. On the day we go in there’s a pile of sticky rice with sour, salty pickled umeboshi plum, silken tofu with shoyu, a selection of crunchy pickles (radish, cucumber, daikon and carrot), tamagoyaki (dashi rolled egg omelette) which is light and not as sweet as that which you get in Japan, yogurt sprinkled with nigella seeds that the waiter tells us he ate in Tokyo, a piece of just-cooked Ulladulla albacore tuna ($5 extra) and a metal cup of strong, deliciously salty miso. It’s the kind of food you eat in Japan: a little bit of this, a little bit of that, and it’s a joy to eat.
It’s a beautiful space: an open kitchen and coffee bar downstairs with the motorbikes (and requisite bikers) off to one side, fiddling away. Upstairs there are a few long tables and a comfy-looking Chesterfield. We get brilliant service from our waitress, Rebecca – the kind of service where they sit down to chat with you as if they have all the time in the world and aren’t, you know, working.
On Rebecca’s recommendation, we decide to finish breakfast with cake – and we’re so glad we made that life choice. The carrot cake is stuffed with cream cheese frosting that’s been infused with nutty burnt butter, which beautifully plays off the coconut in the cake. Chocolate cookies are sturdy rather than soft and are studded with glacé ginger. But our pick has to be the Breton pastry (otherwise known as a kouign-amann): it’s like a croissant has been shaped into a cinnamon scroll and then caramelised all over. We tear off crisp, buttery shards and dip them into our smooth, chocolaty Single Origin coffee (try the house chai if coffee’s not your thing), and are happier than you’ve ever seen us. This is a café we will come back to, again and again. No motorcycle required.