Rating: 5 out of 5
Shop F1A, Sussex Centre Food Court, 401 Sussex Street, Haymarket 2000
Sydney’s ramen fans undoubtedly squealed like teen One Direction fans at the news that Haru Inukai, formerly head chef of Blancharu in the city’s east, finally opened his own little ramen bar. Hidden amongst the bright and shiny outlets of the Sussex Centre food court, Ramen Ikkyu is a sleek looking outlet with a photo board of only eight noodle dishes.
Ordering your meal is done via the two tablet screens, with the helpful assistance of the friendly lady behind the counter, although whether this system is faster than the manual method is debatable. Although I had decided on the Ikkyu miso ramen before approaching the tablet, once I started tapping away, I was tempted to change my mind after getting a close-up look at all the other options. In addition to choosing from the Ikkyu or Tokyo ramens in shio, shoyu or miso flavours, you can also opt for extra ramen toppings, including half a soft-boiled egg, bamboo shoots, and sweet corn, or if you feeling like spoiling yourself, a hefty side of pork rib.
After only a short wait, my Ikkyu miso ramen came out with thinly sliced carrot, caramelised onion, half a boiled egg, sweet kernels of corn, shredded cabbage, bean sprouts, and tender pieces of roasted pork. The broth was a thick and full-flavoured, porky affair, which struck me at first with its saltiness. Submerged under the broth and colourful toppings was the fresh, thin style ramen noodle, which was soft and held onto the flavoursome broth as I picked it up in my chopsticks and put it hungrily in my mouth. The shredded roast pork actually outshone the broth with its sweet, smokey flavour, and I regretted not ordering more of this soft and tender meat as a side.
Ramen Ikkyu is already attracting the eager noodle crowds to the Sussex Centre, which is definitely one of the nicest Chinatown food courts. Haru Inukai has created an elegant and simple ramen bar that is sure to be a hit with the ramen fans of Sydney. I’m already making plans to come back here to try the Ikkyu shio ramen. Anybody want to be my noodle companion?