Goshu Ramen Tei, Wynyard

Irasshaimase (いらっしゃいませ) ! That's a phrase you've probably heard often when eating at a Japanese restaurant, shouted above the sounds of the kitchen and buzz of diners by single or multiple sushi chefs as new patrons enter through the door. It means 'welcome', but what you probably didn't know is that it's also common for shop employees in Japan to greet customers with the same phrase, which is what we experienced on holiday there last year. It isn't always expected and welcoming, though, - on many occasions we witnessed retailers saying (or sometimes even shouting) it spontaneously while patrolling the aisles of their shops, perhaps to remind customers that they are there to help. But only in Japan.

Enter Goshu Ramen Tei, a hole-in-the-wall Japanese ramen joint up near the Wynyard Park end of Wynyard Station (York St exit) in the heart of Sydney. You don't hear Irasshimase upon entering (most of the seating is outside), but it does have that authentic Japanese ramen stall-style feel. On this busy weekday, it's lunchtime and we notice that all the tables are occupied, full of both small and larger groups of predominantly office workers chowing into comforting bowls of homey Japanese food. Next door to this eatery is another aptly named noodle restaurant called Ramen Condor, and you may be forgiven for mistaking one for the other. Today, however, it seems that Goshu Ramen Tei is the more popular of the two.

The Grounds of Alexandria

Nestled in amongst the outlet and furniture shops in the homemaker/industrial hub of Alexandria sits The Grounds of Alexandria, famous for it's innovative 'ground roots' approach to food. You know you're near when you begin to hear the hustle and bustle of crowds and begin to find it hard to find parking - on the weekends the queue for a table may last up to an hour or more .

But if you do find yourself in this predicament, don't worry too much. Outside the main cafe you'll be left wonder The Grounds, an expansive, open outdoor area that includes a courtyard, herb beds, a pig and chicken pen and on the weekends is home to The Grounds Markets where you can buy homemade bread, pastries, coffee, flowers and other edible knick-knacks that are all made on site. Wandering past and gawking at all the beautiful stalls is sure to provide a fun and unique experience that will pass the time and distract you from the wait in no time.

Homemade Apple Pie

In America the homemade pie seems to be the standard dessert staple of every household. Americans love their pie - whether it be blueberry, key lime, chocolate cream, pecan, or even varieties like pumpkin that would seem a little unusual to us Australians. To add to this fascination there are even multiple varieties of pie crust that one can conjure: double or single crust, sour cream crust, graham cracker crust, flaky or a short, buttery crust....

But nothing says pie like the humble homemade Apple Pie. Though popularly baked in Autumn when the leaves turn golden and start falling off their branches, apple pie to me is what pie is all about. A golden, flaky, butter-laden crust, filled to the brim with sweet, soft chunks of disintegrated apple flavoured with hints of cinnamon and nutmeg, eaten with scoops of creamy vanilla ice cream. The crunch and the sloppiness, the hot and the cold.... the ultra perfect homemade dessert.

That 's not to say making a pie at home is easy. In fact, it requires a small amount of skill if you choose to make your own pie crust from scratch. That's not to say you shouldn't make a pie using store-bought pastry - it's great for time-poor home cooks, and we use it often - but it just wouldn't be the same if you wanted a true, real deal homemade pie. And there's just so much satisfaction that comes with making your own pastry dough; you know exactly what goes into it and have the pleasure of rolling and lining the pie dish with a pie crust that you can feel proud of having made all by yourself!

I've been wanting to make my very own pie, crust and all, for a very long time. This is because part of me was always afraid the pastry wouldn't turn out right, and part of me just didn't really feel like going to all the effort to make a whole pie. Up until now.

Part of what persuaded me to attempt this feat was the simplicity of the pastry in this recipe from Curtis Stone, which I stumbled upon in an issue of delicious magazine. The pastry consisted of just plain flour, butter, iced water and a couple of tablespoons of caster sugar, whizzed together to form a loose dough and then rested in the fridge. I followed my own recipe for the filling, in which pieces of Granny Smith Apple were cooked on the stovetop with spices, sugar and water until just tender.

I have to admit that the longer the resting time for the dough, the the easier it was to work with and use to line the pie dish. After a second chilling, the slightly cooled filling was tumbled on top and sealed with another layer of pastry, then crimped and shaped around the edge and slit on top to allow steam to escape. A brushing of milk and sprinkling of raw sugar was all that was needed before popping in the oven to cook for just over an hour.

What came out of the oven was a completely transformed dessert, golden on top and with a crispy, flaky crust. It retained its heat for a long time after being taken out, and so didn't need reheating at the time of eating. Cutting into the buttery layered crust produced a satisfying *crunch* sound, although the dish wasn't greased well enough so the crust was quite resistant in coming out when we tried cutting it up into generous pieces. What resulted was a mess of a piece of pie, a somewhat rustic, deconstructed version that still tasted absolutely divine (albeit a little bit messy and crumbly).

Before and after shots

Pastry from What's for Dinner? by Curtis Stone; filling an original recipe.
Makes one large 24 cm pie.



  • 2 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 250g chilled unsalted butter, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 1/2 cup iced water
  • 6 Granny Smith Apples, cored and cut into 1.5cm thick slices
  • 1/4 cup caster sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

To decorate:
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 2 teaspoons raw sugar

  1. Grease a 24cm wide pie dish with butter or cooking spray
  2. Place the flour, sugar and 1 teaspoon of salt in a food processor and process until sandy and coarse. Gradually add the water in a slow stream until moist clumps form (don't add too much, just until it comes together).
  3. Divide the dough into two halves, one slightly larger than the other, and enclose in glad wrap and leave to rest in the fridge for 30 mins or overnight. 
  4. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius (fan-forced). 
  5. For the filling, place all ingredients in a large saucepan and cook over a medium heat for around 8-10 mins or until just tender and still. Let cool.
  6. Once the pastry has rested, take the larger half out of the fridge and roll carefully between two sheets of baking paper until it is slightly larger than the bottom of your pie dish. Carefully transfer the rolled out pastry into the dish (find it easier if it is draped slightly over the rolling pin) and press into the bottom to line the dish. Leave any overhanging pastry as it is and chill the lined dish for a further 15 mins. 
  7. Fill the chilled dish with the apple filling mixture, leaving any juices from the cooking process behind so that the crust won't get soggy. Roll out the second piece of chilled pastry until it is wide enough to cover the top of the pie, then use to cover the filling. Trim the overhanging pastry to 1cm and press the edges together to seal, folding the excess underneath itself if necessary to form a neat edge. Decorate as you like (I crimped with the edge of a fork). 
  8. Brush the top of the pie with the milk and sprinkle over the raw sugar evenly. Cut 4 slits on the top of the pastry to allow steam to escape in the oven. 
  9. Place in the oven and bake for 50 minutes or until golden on top and the filling is bubbling and hot. Take out to cool, then enjoy! Best eaten warm with a large scoop of vanilla ice cream.