Rising Sun Workshop

Rising Sun Workshop's cafe.
Rising Sun Workshop's cafe. Photo: Christopher Pearce

1C Whateley St Newtown, NSW 2042

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Opening hours Mon-Tue 8am–4pm ; Wed-Sat 8am–10pm ; Sun 8am–4pm
Features Family friendly, Cheap, Breakfast-brunch, Wheelchair access, Bar, Vegetarian friendly, Accepts bookings, Gluten-free options
Prices Cheap (mains under $20)
Chef Nick Smith
Payments eftpos, Cash, Visa, Mastercard
Phone 02 9550 3891

Well roll out the selvedge and fix my gears, if this isn't the most Newtownish cafe Newtown ever did see.

Welcome to Rising Sun, where there's a menu of Japanese-leaning snacks served in an airy warehouse space boasting tunes from prime-era Beastie Boys, all set next to a neighbouring community motorcycle workshop. Somebody hand me a glass of local wine made in some punk's backyard.

Yup, they have that too, along with craft beer made up the road.

Pork banh mi.
Pork banh mi.  Photo: Christopher Pearce

But let's start in the workshop where weekend warriors can mess around with engines and get their hands dirty with full access to the workshop's tools and equipment. I'd tell you more, but my knowledge of hydraulic forklifts is limited to the final scenes in Terminator 2.

Of course, if you're reading this, you're probably about the food - not the inner workings of a giant shed. Happily, today you can do both - whether you like it or not.

One of the most attractive things about the cafe is that you might start the meal with a flat white and end drinking a carafe of wine while thinking very seriously of rolling to the Courthouse Hotel to see out the rest of the afternoon in the beer garden.

The eggplant omelette.
The eggplant omelette. Photo: Christopher Pearce

Another is the menu setup. Rolling solo for a bowl of ramen? Choose from three - 'the darkness' is made on shiitake, chicken and smoked pork bone stock and packed with slices of roast pork, cloud ear fungus and miso-poached field mushrooms. Aside from giving you the old 'umami one-two', it's pretty light-going - all the flavour but none of the lip-coating richness of a straight tonkotsu. Smart.

Packing pals? Order the entire soup noodle repetoire (love that light version made on a straight chicken stock with a massive dashi hit and firm, bouncy noodles); a couple of their banh mi (the pig's head terrine and the rough-hewn pate on the grilled pork version takes the much-loved Vietno-sambo classic to new and delicious heights) and don't go past the fine, silken-skinned gyoza.

There's also a Japanese-style omelette that sees both grilled and pickled eggplant bound with egg and covered in a nest of herbs.

The 'darkness' ramen at Rising Sun Workshop.
The 'darkness' ramen at Rising Sun Workshop.  Photo: Christopher Pearce

All of this and some of the smartest, most personable service you're likely to find in a cafe setting in Sydney. On yer bikes.

Try this We're very keen to go back for a morning visit for the 'prison bento' 

Bottom line Ramen ($17); banh mi ($14); gyoza ($5-$8) 

Pro Tip: Make it a lunchtime visit and give the wine list a tilt