A Japanese diner in Fitzroy serving up burnt miso ramen, which is smoky, sweet and intense.
March 04, 2020
The arrival of Fitzroy's newest ramen spot Gogyo has't go unnoticed. An enormous new exterior mural, a modern interpretation of wuxing (the five Chinese elements) by celebrated Sydney-based artist Kentaro Yoshida, points to its entrance on the corner of Brunswick and Westgarth streets. And, in the kitchen, the team is shaking up the game by celebrating a gutsy style of signature ramen you won't find anywhere else in town.
Japanese-born Gogyo has landed in Melbourne following the success of its Aussie debut, which launched in Sydney's Surry Hills in 2018. It's also from the same minds behind internationally revered ramen chain Ippudo and, as you might know, that equates to some serious street cred in the world of Japanese noodle soup.
Gogyo has set itself apart from the pack with its burnt ramen creation dubbed kogashi. A smoky, sweet and intense dish crafted on a charred miso or shoyu base, it is then loaded with chicken broth, pork belly chashu and half an umami egg. While it's the headline act at the new Fitzroy restaurant, the black (but not bitter) soup is backed by a strong supporting cast of alternative ramen varieties and izakaya-style snacks.
The space itself is split between a minimalist front cocktail lounge and the restaurant, divided by traditional noren curtains featuring more of Yoshida's symbolic artworks. Step through into the dining room and you'll find a warm timber-filled space decked out with deep booths and a long open kitchen lined with stools.
As for the menu, it's a mix of Gogyo favourites and Fitzroy exclusives. You might kick off with elegant snacks like scampi nigiri and spring rolls stuffed with sukiyaki-style wagyu, before diving into the likes of pork katsu curry or a poke-style sashimi number. There's a cracking karaage chicken, wagyu tataki finished with shiso and yuzu ponzu, and a miso chicken teamed with sticky rice and fennel pickle. Meanwhile, in the ramen corner, the two kogashi options steal the show, though there's plenty to tempt among the rest of the lineup, including a tonkotsu ramen laced with garlic oil and a fiery chilli shoyu soup.
To match, there's a tight list of Aussie wines, Suntory brews on tap and a handful of elegant cocktails, like the whisky- and bitter orange-infused Salaryman.
Images: Julia Sansone