While taking a stroll to figure out what to have for lunch last Monday I noticed that Ippudo had opened its doors at Westfield Sydney, Level 5. I had no choice but to go in and have a go especially because there was much excitement over twitter and instagram regarding the opening of this famous Japanese enterprise.
A table for one calls for an instant seat tucked away in a corner. All the staff chant out a welcome greeting which always makes me smile.
In no time I get a menu and a waiter takes my order. Prompt and efficient service I must say.
Shiromaru Motoaji $15
I opt for something that has made the Ippudo enterprise very popular – the shiromaru motoaji which is the original tonkotsu broth servied with thin noodles, pork loin, cabbage, black mushrooms and shallots.
The oh so tender pork loin
I found that I was in love with this particular tonkotsu broth – it was clean on the palette and still had plenty of the pork bone flavour. I know many will be comparing to Gumshara and their broth but let’s not forget that every restaurant is each to their own and has their own way of doing things.
There is the option to have your ramen cooked 3 different ways – soft, normal or hard (with a bite). I’ve never had such variety before but I go with normal. Because I am hungry I gobble it all down in a flash. I find that the ramen noodles have retained a good bite, however, had I taken my time I’m sure the noodles would have continued to cook in the steaming hot tonkotsu broth.
The official opening of Ippudo Sydney was on 06/12/12 – how lucky was I to be able to dine before that?
I return later in the week (after the official launch) for a last minute lunch with some other humans. It’s only 12pm and the queues are already pushing for at least a 30 minute wait. Amazing at how quickly word had already spread.
Raff was taking a photo of the decor when he realised he accidentally took a photo of one of the chefs sitting down having a meal with the crowd. I got him to take a photo on my phone too because I thought it was just too funny (oh yes, the photos in this post is courtesy of my iPhone 5 so apologies for the lack of quality).
Ippudo Pork Bun $4 each
This time I order myself a pork bun which is a steamed bun with braised pork and Ippudo original sauce.
And here I was just using my trusty iPhone hahaha
One bite into this baby and I am in heaven. It does give me slight flashbacks to Momofuku Seiobo but the two are completely different (again, I’m sure there will be much comparisons). The steamed bun itself is so ridiculously light and fluffy and the pork, despite braised, must be cooked again because it is so sticky and sweet, and appears to look/taste very caramelised. What a joy it was to eat. I could easily return to Ippudo, order about 5 of these steamed pork buns and be one very satisfied customer
Ippudo Gyoza (5 pieces) $6
These hakata-style pan fried dumplings are smaller than your normal gyozas but they taste even better! Each bite has a variety of texture with the fresh spring onions and pan fried bits whilst the pork filling is so tender and juicy.
Bakuretsu Tofu $10
This visit sees me ordering the Bakuretsu Tofu which is spicy tofu and minced pork in a sizzling hot stone pot. Verdict? Amazing – I’ve not had a spicy tofu dish like this before and I absolutely loved the combination of everything. The tofu was silky soft, the minced pork was added texture and I loved the flavour of the hot pot soup. It almost felt Korean inspired.
The ramen is a bit too translucent in this photo but that’s because it took me a while to eat because it was boiling hot! Perhaps with this dish the ramen should be requested to be ‘hard’ because it will continue to cook in the hot broth. The portion itself isn’t all that big but it’s quite perfect for a relatively small lunch.
Shiromaru Motoaji $15 with extra chashu ($4) and nitamago (flavoured egg $2)
Karaka Men $17
Original tonkotsu broth with special spicy miso and ground pork. I had spoonfull of the broth and I have to say I am returning back for this. As a big fan of spice, I thought the spicy miso just brought everything to another level.
Akamaru Shinaji $16
Tonkotsu broth enhanced with special blended miso paste and fragrant garlic oil, served with thin noodles, pork belly, black mushroom and shallots. It’s considered to be a refined, modern styled ramen dish.
I think Ippudo is going to attract a rather large crowd during lunch times since it’s the only ramen place in central CBD (all others seem to be in the Chinatown area). If you’re looking to visit, be sure to go relatively early (I’d suggest even before midday) so as to avoid lengthy waits but it is worth the visit!
Note: Ippudo is opened from 11am to 11pm everyday :)
Level 5, Shop 5021
Cnr Pitt & Market Streets
Sydney NSW 2000
Tel: +61 2 9573 0011