Rating: 5 out of 5
Westfield Sydney, Pitt St, Sydney 2000
I’m sure that ramen fans rejoiced when they heard that Ippudo was finally arriving on our shores. The excitement levels were probably the food equivalent to Zara and Topshop opening their doors in Sydney. And for good reason, as I found out.
The Ippudo chain has branched out its roots from Japan to famous cities such as New York, Seoul and Taipei, and finally arrived in Sydney in December 2012. Their signature is their tonkotsu broth, made by simmering pork bones for many, many hours, so it would have been rude of me not to try their famous tonkotsu-based ramen. The restaurant here is known to be quite busy during peak lunch and dinner services, however we arrived here at around 3:00pm for a late lunch and there were quite a few tables available. The tables are arranged in a communal setting, so you will more often than not be sharing a table with other ramen fans (maybe not ideal for a first date then!). The lighting is dim, but pleasant and a little atmospheric and theatrical, especially as you can get a glimpse of the ramen chefs on one side of the dining room preparing your meal.
A big bowl of steaming ramen is one of my favourite comfort foods, and the tonkotsu broth here does not disappoint. It is deliciously creamy and wonderfully porky, yet light in colour and mouthfeel, which doesn’t coat it with fattiness. The noodles aren’t your instant noodle curly type noodle, but a thin style, elastic noodle that is manufactured with Australian flour. The Akamaru ramen that I ordered also came with a dollop of miso paste and a flavoured egg, and together with the lovely broth, I was in pork heaven. If I hadn’t already slurped all the tasty soup, I could have ordered a second helping of noodles, but I wanted to leave with the satisfied and contented feeling the tonkotsu ramen had given me without completely overdoing it.
Ippudo has set a new benchmark for me for Sydney ramen, slightly nudging out the old favourite Ryo’s. Ippudo’s website mentions an expansion from its signature tonkotsu broth to other flavoured broths, which only gives me more reasons to go back!