It’s been a while since my last visit to Ippudo. While the queues are still there and the place is as busy as ever, the menu has expanded from comprising of mainly ramen with a small selection of sides and desserts, to a full blown a la carte menu to cater for everyone’s tastes.
Having such a large menu means that there were more decisions to be made. There was an overwhelming choice of different ramen soup bases, ramen toppings, entrees, salads, more substantial-sized dishes and rice dishes, so it took us a while to decide on what we wanted to eat.
The Ippudo pork buns are pretty much a must-order for me. The juicy grilled pork belly, crispy lettuce and pillowy-soft bun hit all the right notes. There was a nice balance of flavours though I could always do with some extra pork belly!
The David tofu is another entree dish that we hadn’t tried before. I’m not sure who David is but thanks to him, you get some surprisingly delicious tofu. The cubes of silken tofu are coated and fried until crisp, and topped with grated radish and an ‘agedashi’ sauce – a thicker version of the broth used in agedashi tofu.
There are some larger, non-noodle dishes available like Samurai pork spare ribs ($18), Crispy chicken ($12) and wagyu steak ($18), but we decide to order the barramundi saiyko yaki. It’s an artwork on a plate with the miso-marinated barramundi front and centre, backdropped by a tingly wasabi sauce, micro herbs and dots of shichimi pepper and rock salt.
But really, it’s all about the ramen at Ippudo, and one of my favourites is the Akamaru shinaji ramen. The Hakata-style ramen has a tonkotsu broth that is enhanced with some black garlic oil and a pork-based miso paste. You can add toppings as you like to this one, but it normally comes with chashu, strips of black mushroom and shallots.
The tori shoyu ramen is new to me and features a lighter, chicken and dashi based broth. The ‘chashu’ in this ramen is also made of chicken, and the toppings of naruto fish cake, menma bamboo shoots and leek make this the perfect dish if you’re after something less heavy.
The tori shoyu ramen also comes with wavy ramen noodles rather than the usual straight ones featured in other Ippudo ramens.
There’s still plenty of people slurping away at their noodles when we leave and Ippudo showed no signs of slowing down, even on a quiet Tuesday night. Luckily, Ippudo are opening another branch located in the dining district of the new Central Park on 2nd October 2014, so keep an eye out for more ramen goodness coming soon!
Penguin says Feed Me dined at Ippudo courtesy of SD Marketing
Level 5, Westfield Sydney
188 Pitt Street
Sydney NSW 2000
Ph: +61 2 8078 7020
Open 7 days, from 11am