Chase Kojima’s new neon-lit, 20-seater Ramen Omakase, Senpai Ramen in Chatswood, is unique

There are many words that can not be directly translated from Japanese. “Senpai” is one of them, a term found in all facets of Japanese life, and refers to someone who is senior at your job or school – someone you respect and honor.

For Chase Kojima, one of Australia’s most influential Japanese chefs – known for Sokyo in Pyrmont, Kiyomi on the Gold Coast and Simulation Senpai on Darling Square – the name of his newly opened omakase diner, Senpai Ramen, stems from his desire to be ” as a mentor or big brother ”to his employees and followers.

“Senpai fits in perfectly with the way I am,” Kojima says Broadsheet.

The 20-seat Chatswood Restaurant is a unique ramen destination serving a seven-course omakase that includes a bowl of ramen. With neon lights and loud music, this is no ordinary ramen shop.

Kojima’s goal is to make eating the ramen a more exclusive experience. He says it is often considered a “quick and cheap” option, with a typical seating of 15 to 20 minutes. Here the sessions last 90 minutes.

“I could have done this by adding expensive ingredients, but one dish [of] The luxury frame does not make the deal, ”he says.

Instead, Kojima and his team have created a variety of snacks to build your palate to the frame. You can get sashimi, chawanmushi (steamed egg cream), agemono (something fried) and grilled fish. It is also possible to add a mini chirashi (scattered seafood) dish served with Kojima’s signature egg sauce (or “liquid gold”).

Omakase means that the menu is left to the chef (except, in this case, the ramen) – but Kojima says that on the Senpai Ramen you are guaranteed fresh, first-class ingredients such as Glacier 51 toothfish and A5 Wagyu.

“To give [customers] the experience I want to give them, the raw materials must be good, ”he says. There are five variants of the frame for dining guests to choose from. The thick pork-based tonkotsu; the salt-based shio with a touch of yuzu; the soy-based shoyu with smoked duck; chili miso butter; and the spicy black tonkotsu with sesame flavor, tan tan. You can also add abalone with liver sauce for a fuller flavor, and other luxurious ingredients will be available in the future.

“I see the market, see what people want, listen to their feedback,” Kojima says, adding that he carefully observes whether his unique concept of an omakase and the frame in one is what people are looking for.

The small space evokes ramen diners in Japan. In addition to tables for groups and couples, there are wooden stalls where solo guests can knock their meals back. And although the Senpai Ramen currently only offers the omakase and ramen menu, Kojima eventually plans to expand the menu to include the walk-in ramen during the day.

Senpai Ramen
G05 / 88 Archer Street, Chatswood

Tue to Sun 17.00-21.00

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