Hello Senpai Concepts, introducing the cripsy rice Senpai Burger from hatted chef Chase Kojima

When Daily Addict first met Senpai Ramen it was love at first sight (slurp). Ramen was the draw card. They offered a boggling array: thick pork-based tonkotsu; salt-based shio with a hint of yuzu; soy-based shoyu with smoked duck; chilli miso butter; spicy black sesame-flavoured tonkotsu, tan tan and yuzu shio chicken ramen.

Ramen action on the dining floor

Things have changed. We are not surprised. Whilst we loved the ramen, the things we adored, demonstrated why Chase earned his hats. Senpai is all about fun, fast and absolutely bloomin’ fabulous food.

And just like that…Senpai Concepts is born. The new menu is shorter on Ramen and the two handed burger is centre stage.

Senpai Burger – Miso Salmon

Oh! we have missed you little Senpai Burger. We first fell in love a few years ago at The Star’s Gojima led by Kojima. In fact, after our review I couldn’t stop dreaming about that burger-nori roll hybrid, it haunted me in my dreams. I headed back there again in the first week. Such was the bewitchment of this devilishly delicious invention. The bun is replaced by sushi rice, air fried, crispy one side and wrapped hinge-like by seaweed to be filled with a number of Japanese-inspired options. Tonight was like meeting an old flame as I say ‘hello luvva’ and bite into the impressive skyscraper crispy chicken burger with melted burger cheese, slice of tomato, pickles and a layer of lettuce. I was supposed to be sharing with my dining partner Mr G, but this was a very hard ask.

Other options included beef, impossible beef (vegan), spicy tuna and salmon miso. Our second burger was the salmon miso, which is a more delicate, refined and smaller version of the mighty burg, the miso is flavourful, but just doesn’t hit those chicken hedonistic highs!

sweetcorn ribs

Some of our favourites from the last menu are gone (sob) but thankfully
the corn ribs survive – delicately cut sections slathered with a
cumin szechuan teriyaki glaze which is all fluffy on top with shavings of parmesan. Crispy fried boneless chicken tenders are tossed in a sweet and sour yuzu glaze.


We order (via our phones) the Tonkotsu, for which Chase uses a special process. Using different bones he puts them into a spinning kettle which over time grinds them down into a broth which is reduced 3 to 1 over two hours, then comes the blast freezer, water and freeze again. Seems like a lot of work for a bowl which is being downed in about 10 minutes judging by the stellar turnover of happy diners! The other two options are Malatang (spice numbing pork base) and Wagyu Shoyu.

So when we put spoon to mouth there is a certain amount of reverence to this silky liquid which looks simple, tastes complex and has been a labour of love. Want more noodles? Extra egg? Pork? Wagyu? Black garlic oil? No problem.

We ’round out’ the dinner with Senpai donuts, sugar dusted spheres of perfection with a custard filling.

With locals all slurping away there is no doubt that the ramen was the thing they come here for, but now there is a new headline act – The ‘BURG’. This is a restaurant which now has a better name to allow Chase and all his creativity to take us on a new journey – beyond the ramen, burger to where next??

Senpai Concepts, 14/27 Belmore St, Burwood NSW 2134

About the author

Karen’s corporate job back in the UK had included entertaining clients in some of the best restaurants. This ultimately sparked a curiosity 'Just how do they do that?' (she confesses she was brought up on meat and vegetables, so this was all very exciting). Currently a Mr & Mrs Smith 'Tastemaker', she’s flashpacked around the world, learning about wine, experiencing different cultures and cuisines and had a two- year love affair with it all. Originally from England, she finally settled in Australia and continues to be besotted by food, wine and travel preferring to focus on the luxury end of town (thread count does matter).