One Tea Lounge and Grill

Fun flavours: Some of the creative 'burgers' at One Tea Bar.
Fun flavours: Some of the creative 'burgers' at One Tea Bar. Photo: Daniel Munoz

73 York Street Sydney, New South Wales 2000

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Opening hours Mon & Sat 5:30 – 10:00 PM, Tue-Fri 11:30 AM – 3:00 PM 5:30 – 10:00 PM, Sun Closed
Features Accepts bookings, Licensed, Vegetarian friendly, Outdoor seating, Gluten-free options, Family friendly, Wheelchair access
Prices Moderate (mains $20-$40)
Chef David Yip
Payments eftpos, AMEX, Cash, Visa, Mastercard
Phone (02) 9279 3311

A word on this most franken of foods. David Yip debuted his version at the Night Noodle Markets in 2013 to admittedly mixed reviews, but a lot of online attention. Because nothing says click bait like "ramen" and "burger". Put the two together and you have the recipe for a Kardashian-shaped internet meltdown.    

But that doesn't mean it's easy finding a dinner date who wants to eat one at Yip's new restaurant on York Street. "No," says a buddy. "That sounds like a horrible, revolting idea."

It takes no small amount of coaxing to get said friend to the table, but she eventually succumbed to my charms (or at least the lack of any better offers of a free meal), and here we are. The verdict? "It's like yesterday's dinner. In a good way." Ha.

'Designers sliders' at One Tea Bar.
'Designers sliders' at One Tea Bar. Photo: Daniel Munoz

Think of the ramen "bun" as akin to the sticky bits at the bottom of the pan when you're frying noodles, then take two pucks of the stuff and wrap them around a slice of tomato and a beef patty.

They're calling it a "slider" (bleugh) but it really is just a noodle burger. And actually, it's not the worst thing in the world.

Order a freaky burger sampler and you may also try the rice bun (see earlier comments about the sticky bits at the bottom of the pan) which we order with a filling of sticky, spicy pork. There's also, um, a "bauger" (that's a burger on a steamed Chinese-style bun, just in case you needed the translation) on the menu, with a fillet of lightly fried chicken. A soft little edible squish with a crunchy interior.  

Grilled corn rolled in popcorn or 'lollipop corn'.
Grilled corn rolled in popcorn or 'lollipop corn'. Photo: Daniel Munoz

Elsewhere on the menu, there are things on sticks - juicy chicken thigh, asparagus wrapped in bacon and fried chicken skin (this could do with a little more time on heat - a fair bit of the chicken fat isn't quite rendered off).

And chicken niblets, deep-fried and heavily dusted in curry powder. Grilled corn on the cob rolled in popcorn is billed as a "corn lollipop" - it tastes not unlike sneaking half a counter meal into the movies.        

It's a funny spot, this. The place is decorated in a way that gives the impression you're about to do karaoke with the lights on. And the free Spotify complete with ad breaks doesn't really do much to intensify the romance. Service is about as perfunctory as you might expect, though there's the feeling that if you're eating here, it's as much because you're taking part in a spectator sport as anything else.

The York Street venue has a karaoke vibe.
The York Street venue has a karaoke vibe. Photo: Daniel Munoz

It's definitely a food with the ability to offend both ramen and burger purists, but I get a sort of pervy enjoyment out of it. And it's great with a Japanese beer.

One to tick off the Sydney snacking bucket list. Or don't, and have the satisfaction of looking on in smug disgust.

THE LOW-DOWN
Pro tip Grab a seat in the front of the restaurant where the action is - the back section is a bit of a dead zone
Try this The ramen burger is surprisingly ungross
Like this? Try a Japanese pizza at Takeru City Restaurant. Shop 10-11, Emporio 339-345 Sussex Street, Sydney, (02) 9283 3522