The Secrets of Regent Place

Grey city block on the outside; fantastic wonderland of Asian culture inside.

Eloise Basuki
Published on August 01, 2013

When is a food court not a food court? When it's Regent Place, the bright arcade surrounded by shops but serving up lively food in restaurants with character. The shops aren't really the attraction, either, and with the arcade tucked away in the nebulous area below Town Hall and above Chinatown, it's not a place you're likely to stumble into without instruction. So we're here to instruct.

Recently developed, Regent Place is like a cool offshoot of Chinatown — or the new J-Village, as it's sometimes known. Level one is a neon-bright Tokyo mirage, while in the basement is the jumble of Senyai Thai, a Misschu hut and AstroTurfed cocktail bar Assembly. The developers have succeeded in giving it a really transporting feel, like its own closed-off world, and it's an approach it would be great to see others borrow from. Next time you're in the city shopping, seeing a movie at Event Cinemas or a catching a gig at the Metro, duck off George Street and into one of these six stellar Regent Place establishments.

Yebisu Izakaya

Settle in for a long, congenial night of grazing on Japanese share plates and sake. Yebisu Izakaya has a gargantuan menu; with more than 100 dishes, the focus is on dizzying quantity rather than A-class quality, and that's fine when your meal is as fun and reliable as this. It's perfect for a party, really, as all tastes are accounted for, whether you fancy regional rarities such as dried skate fin ($8.80) and vinaigrette tuna skin ($10.80), dependables of the sushi or yakitori variety or just giving up on the world and going for fried mixed cheese ($14.80). The iPad menu system means you can order course by course if you want to, and there's no awkward sitting around trying to get the waitstaff's attention. Sake and shochu are a specialty at Yebisu, and you'll also be visited by an attendant with sake trolley and plenty of recommendations to share.

Lunch Mon - Sun noon - 3pm, Dinner Sun - Thu 5pm - 11pm, Fri - Sat from 5pm-midnight; (02) 9266 0301


From the team responsible for Pocket Bar, the Assembly team have done their best to counter the shopping hub feel and ensure the bar itself is a departure from its surrounds. The bar itself is far from sparkling tiles and polished steel - it has the atmosphere of an adult's treehouse. Dividers built from wooden pallets, milkcrate tables, bunker-style lights, slightly creepy mannequins and one of the cleverest dumb waiters we've ever seen, made from the repurposed mechanism of a garage door. The drinks from mixologist/general manager Ben Taouss are almost as intelligent, and most definitely as playful. Our picks are the Lavender Hill Cappuccino ($17), a martini with Pop Rocks and an apple foam; or the Earl Negroni ($18), Hendricks, Campari and Antica formula with orange marmalade, served up in a teacup. If you'd prefer, there's a shifting range of fairly standard beers and a moderate wine list also on offer.

Mon - Fri 12pm - 12am, Sat 5pm - 12am; (02) 9283 8808;

Tenkomori Ramen House

Ramen is king at Tenkomori. Every kind of ramen dish comes in three types of broth: shoyu, miso and tonkotsu. The pork kakuni ramen with tonkotsu broth ($7.30) is certainly indulgent. The pork belly falls apart at the slightest pressure with the spoon and when slurped down with noodles and the soup, you just can't wait for the next spoonful. If you want egg, pickled mustard green and bamboo that'll be an extra $2.50. Pick up a piece of karaage chicken for $2 a pop, or fried tofu for $1.50 and although they are both deep-fried, they're not dripping in oil. The kaarage chicken bowl ($4.50) has fried chicken sitting on top of rice, with generous lashings of Japanese mayo. If you don't feel like a noodle soup, try the Ontama chilli pork ($8.90) with a choice of hot or cold ramen, chilli pork, bean sprout and topped with an egg. It's fresh and packs a punch with the chilli. The pace at Tenkomori is fast and crowds continually flock to Tenkomori for a cheap fix of noodles and deep-fried goodness.

Mon - Sun 11am - 10pm; (02) 9266 0660;


A laneway eatery resembling what one might expect to find in Bangkok's steamy back streets, Senyai is as close to Thai authenticity as you can get. Start with a serve of miang kham ($6) — betel leaves topped with diced lime, red chilli, dehydrated prawns, nuts, red onion, and coconut sauce. Next try the po pia jaan ($12) — crispy prawn pancakes covered in layers of super-fine deep-fried rice paper, with an almost spongy inner texture. Another for those seeking out something hefty is the khao kha moo ($18) — incredibly slow-braised pork hock cooked in cinnamon and star anise (with veggies and rice). Somtum Thai ($16), a traditional Thai green papaya salad with all the extras, is your go-to when looking to cleanse the palette. The roti grob ($6) are sweet, Thai pancakes that are simple, light, and perfect for a crisp finale to your meal.

Mon - Sun 11am - 10.30pm; (02) 9283 8686;

Miss Chu

The queen of rice papaer rolls continues her expansion across Sydney with her latest tuckshop opening it's shutters here in Regent's Place. The usual suspects are all here. Get an order of the tasty Satay Chicken ($7.50) or Roast Duck ($9) rice paper rolls; a serve of succulent dumplings ($7) and if it's pay day, $13 will get you the melt-in-your-mouth Sashimi Tuna. This should leave you with just enough room for a Peking Duck Pancake ($3.50). Sit at the tuckshop window or at one of the street-style wooden ironing-board tables nearby. Or if you're feeling really lazy, make use of their bike-basket delivery service.

Mon - Sun 11am - 9pm; (02) 9283 0357;

Chanoma Cafe

The team running this Japanese cafe are known as the Matcha Masters because their traditional green tea powder is some of the best in Sydney. There's matcha lattes, floats, frappes and parfaits that are sure to give you your daily green tea fix. Try the Oreo matcha frappe ($6.50) to balance out your naughty and nice. To curb your hunger the Japanese style hot dogs are most definitely not your ordinary dogs. Slathered with Japanese mayo and with soft and crunchy textures these hot dogs are often deep fried and usually sprinkled with seaweed flakes. Try the deep fried Tonkatsu dog ($6.20) or the creamy shrimp croquette dog ($6.20) for a walk on the wild side.

(02) 9266 0667

By the Concrete Playground team.

Published on August 01, 2013 by Eloise Basuki
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