Japanese hostess bar or ramen noodle house? Why not both? Club Crescent’s evening gentlemen’s club turns into a ramen house by day – surely a stroke of commercial genius. We bet you’ve walked past this basement bar and never noticed it before, a discreet set of stairs between the Hilton Hotel and the old Gowings building opposite the QVB. Now it’s one of the most talked about ramen joints on Instagram.
Crescent Ramen lounge area
Club Crescent still operates as a Japanese hostess bar, kicking in at 9pm each night. That explains the bar area set-up with numerous lounge chairs and low-set tables for drinks. A couple of private rooms with oversized lounges look a little worn and tired. They’re also devoid of tables. It’s worth arriving early to score one of the counter seats around the L-shaped bar.
Monthly ramen specials
The menu includes seven varieties of ramen with two monthly specials. You’ll need to order and pay upfront at the bar. There’s a 50 cent discount if you pay by cash. Take your numbered order holder back to your table and staff will deliver your ramen with surprising efficiency.
Miso chicken and pork stock ramen $16.50
The standard ramen base here uses a mixed of both chicken and pork stock. The resultant hybrid is a pleasing and flavoursome broth, the rich chicken stock emboldened with an undertone of porky unctuousness.
Order the miso ramen and the soup takes on a more savoury and earthy nuance. A good sprinkle of sesame seeds add a toasty nuttiness.The standard noodles served are thick and chewy, the ideal width for carrying the weightier soup. A handful of bean sprouts provide a palate-cleansing crunch.
Bonito chicken and pork stock ramen $16.50
Bonito ramen means a third protein added to the stock, enhancing the flavour profile with a smoky umami accent. Chef Tsuyoshi Shishido appears to acknowledge its weightiness by adding a good handful of raw sweet onions to the mix.
Spicy salt yuzu ramen $15.50
Spicy salt yuzu ramen is a monthly special I can’t resist. It’s not noticeably zingy with yuzu citrus, but there’s definitely a good whack of chilli. It’s also one of the few ramen bowls to be served with a sail of nori seaweed (salt shrimp ramen, anchovy ramen and the tsukemen dipping noodles are the others).
Gooey yolked ajitama seasoned boiled egg
The noodles are cooked to the right amount of chewiness, and the pork is tender and fatty but it’s the ajitama seasoned egg that steals the show. One bite and the yolk threatens to spill forth like a river of sunshine.
Crescent Ramen is still officially a pop-up but they have extended their original Monday to Friday lunch trading hours to include Saturday lunch and early. They’ll be open from 12pm to 8pm on Saturdays. At 9pm it switches back to Club Crescent mode. Ahem.
Entrance to Crescent Ramen Bar on George Street
Crescent Ramen Bar
Basement 468-472 George St, Sydney
Tel: +61 (020
Monday to Friday 11.30am-2.30pm (last order 2pm)
Sat 12pm-8pm (last order 7.30pm)