From modest origins as a food market stall, David Yip’s Ramen Burger has finally made it to the big leagues with the opening of One Tea Lounge and Grill. Sydney’s newest Asian fusion bar is boasting a unique menu with green tea and unconventional burgers that has the whole city talking.
The idea of the Ramen Burger may have people divided, but it’s hard to ignore the “don’t knock it until you try it” mentality. With so much talk surrounding such a small burger, I had to indulge my curiosity and see what all the fuss was about.
After a couple of moments questioning how to pick it up, I took my first bite and I was not disappointed. A sweet and gooey ramen interior is encased in mouth-watering golden noodle crunch. Enveloped by the heavenly ramen is a juicy Wagyu Beef Patty and a surprising kick of spicy sauce. Make sure you have a napkin at hand though, this certainly is a messy eat if you haven’t already swallowed it whole! Served as a trio of sliders, these could be a great share plate snack. Although I’m willing to bet that everyone will want a plate all to themselves with a choice of three innovative buns and four delicious fillings. One of my favourite combos was the sweet and tender Ramen Slider with Braised Pork Rib.
If you’re not feeling the ramen for some reason, there’s always a choice of a Rice Burger or a Matcha Baoger. The lovechild of a bao and burger, the Matcha Baoger was simultaneously fluffy and chewy. Don’t be put off by it’s colour, the Matcha Baoger bun is infused with green tea that gives it a unique Asian-fusion of flavours.
This matcha vibe carries onto the rest of the menu, with over half of the dishes including green tea in some way. The Gyokuro Smoked Octopus Avocado ($15), for example, is served under green tea smoke-filled glass dome. After the lid is lifted you’re hit with the smokey aroma of Gyokuro tea that lingers in the tender octopus and creamy avocado.
It’s this kind of showmanship from David Yip that makes dining at One Tea Lounge more than just a meal. With his aim to create a culinary experience for diners, you can expect to see plenty of flair and dry ice. Our Salmon Tartare ($13) with avocado, cucumber and tobiko was served on a bed of grass in a shroud of mist which, when lifted, revealed a colourful and fresh tasting dish.
The ONE Tea Experience ($37) was served in the same dramatic fashion: in a Ferris Wheel emerging from a cloud of smoke. This signature cocktail designed to share is created with Hendricks Gin, peach, lemon, green tea and a hint of rose. The ONE Tea Experience was sweet and slightly sour followed by a note of green tea.
It’s no surprise that green tea has also managed to find its way into the drinks menu. After learning the many health benefits of Matcha, I found it much easier to order a few more green tea cocktails without too much guilt. Among other things, Matcha is high in antioxidants, stimulates metabolism and lowers cholesterol. The knowledge of this made my Matcha Made in Heaven ($20) cocktail go down quite nicely. The delicate balance of vodka, lime, green tea, yuzu and a spray of salted nori creates a zesty palette refresher. If you’re more of a sweet tooth the Splice Up Your Life ($18) is the way to go. Green tea infused pineapple juice, Midori and a topping of thick whipped cream creates a fantastic twist to a classic Midori Splice.
Not a green tea fan? The Crispy Chicken Lollipop ($12) and 9+ Wagyu Beef on Lava Stone ($48) will be right up your alley. The lollipop’s soft Nagoya style chicken is fried to crispy perfection and seasoned with a mild Szechuan pepper. Served with a trio of sauces, the sizzling juicy Wagyu steak is one of One Tea Lounge’s best dishes.
Unusual burgers are revisited once again on One Tea’s dessert menu with a choice of sesame, matcha, lychee or red bean ice cream sandwiched by a pair of sweet, deep fried buns. The warm doughnut-like bun and sweet matcha ice cream in my Ice Cream Baoger worked so well together that I forgave any brain freezes I experienced as a result. The same went for the Green Tea Parfait which was a kaleidoscope of textures and flavours. This sweet treat was created with a creamy panacotta, tasty matcha ice cream, crunchy almond wafers and topped with a fluffy fairy floss.
One Tea Lounge and Grill has succeeded in creating a dining experience with a menu of sensory feasts. After a 6 week soft open, weekends at the grill are often booked out, which speaks volumes for the quality of the restaurant. As for the famed Ramen Burger, be sure to not make up your mind until you try it. It may not look perfect, but you could be pleasantly surprised!
One Tea Lounge and Grill
73 York St, Sydney
Phone: (02) 9279 3311