Paper Planes is a trendy Japanese fusion restaurant by the picturesque Bondi Beach which is located in a modern arcade that also houses Miss Chu’s. True to its name, there’s a canopy of origami paper planes hanging from the ceiling as a centrepiece inside the restaurant and the furnishings are full of dark polished wood and ceramics with Japanese words on them. We have been wanting to come over to try the Paper Planes menu for awhile so when the opportunity to try their new ramens for the launch of their Ramen Nights popped up, we were keen to see what it was all about.
There’s a lively vibe throughout the eatery and some unique touches such as the slice of cucumber in the glass bottle of tap water being served which infuses the water with its unmistakeable fresh taste. We settle down with our drinks for the night – a Sapporo beer for him and a lovely sounding Geisha Bellini for me which turns out to be a strongly sweet concoction of peach, lychee, vanilla pod and Martini Prosecco.
Geisha Bellini, $14 and Sapporo $8.50
The idea behind Ramen Nights at Paper Planes is simple – all ramens will be $15 after 5pm every Monday-Thursday. You can choose from 3 different types of soup bases (colour coded for your convenience) – Black corresponds with Shoyu flavour, Yellow with Miso and Red is Hot and Spicy flavour. You can also choose your own toppings to go with the soup bases. There is Karaage Chicken, Japanese Chashu Beef, Tempura Prawn and Veg or Tempura Tofu and Veg on the menu.
We opt for the classic combos of Shoyu Ramen with Karaage Chicken and Miso Ramen with Tempura Prawn and Vegies. It takes awhile for the ramens to come out but when they do, we’re pleased that they have placed the crispy Tempura and Karaage Chicken on separate plates to serve rather than dunking them all into the Ramen soup and making them soggy like some other joints do.
Shoyu Ramen with Karaage Chicken, $15
It’s not a huge serving of ramen considering the price but there’s surprisingly a lot of noodles in there and the boy finds himself quite full afterwards. The Karaage Chicken had a nice crunch to it and “tasted like KFC”. The soft boiled egg has been done nicely with a slightly runny yolk, but the ramen broth itself is rather salty which makes it hard to drink after the noodles are gone.
Miso Ramen with Tempura Prawn and Veg, $15
The Miso soup base is much lighter than the Shoyu and easier to drink, although I find that it has some unconventional sweet and creamy notes to it which I haven’t really tasted elsewhere. Since the cuisine which Paper Planes serves up is fusion Japanese, it’s not too surprising that their interpretation of Ramen is also Western inspired rather than brimming with authentic Japanese flavours. The Tempura on the side were not too remarkable, the batter was crispy on the outside but not as light as I had hoped it would be. But I did like that they used broccoli as the green vegie in the mix because it’s one of my favourite vegies.
Paper Planes gears its flavours more towards a Western interpretation of traditional Japanese dishes like Ramen (amongst the many other items on their menu) and the clientele they attract reflects this. The flavours may not be as conventional as other Japanese places but it’s a gorgeously decked out spot which is laid back, yet still classy in its decor to keep it a notch above your average Japanese eatery.
Excuse Me Waiter dined as guests of Paper Planes and Sweaty Betty PR.
178 Campbell Parade Bondi Beach NSW 2026
Phone: (02) 9300 0673