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Friday, January 11, 2013

New Ramen Joint: Ippudo Sydney (Westfield Sydney)

Sydney's already got a few good places to have ramen and things just got a bit more exciting when Ippudo opened it's first branch at Westfield Sydney.
A little history on Ippudo: 
On October 16, 1985, IPPUDO was opened with a counter seating capactiy of 10. Shigemi Kawahara the Ramen King really impacted the industry with his original interior designs and Tonkotsu (pork based) ramen. The classy shop interior with its heavy reliance on wood is almost like a wood sculptor’s studio and is kept sparkling clean with modern jazz playing in the background. The attention to detail and hospitable service translate to quality dining in a modest establishment with a decor and ambience that hits at sophistication and quality.
Ippudo’s tonkotsu ramen soup is free of the usual smell of pork with a light aftertaste. The selection of ingredients and the seasoning suited to the customer’s well-being has won over female customers tempting them to want to try it everyday. Ippudo was also the first to refer to broth by color, Shiro (white) and Aka (red), which soon became a standard industry practice. Till today, Shiromaru and Akamaru continue to helm as Ippudo’s signature ramen. (source)

Ippudo offers three ramen soups:
Akamaru Shinaji. A powerful Tonkotsu broth combined with Ippudo's secret miso, garlic oil with lean slices of pork, black mushrooms, soybean sprouts and scallions

Shiromaru Motoaji. Original Tonkotso broth with Hakata-style noodles topped with pork, soybean sprouts and shallots.

Karaka Men. Combination of the Ippudo signature Tonkotsu broth and Hakata-style noodles topped with pork belly and spicy Karaka miso.
We were incidentally at Westfield Sydney on Tuesday because of the heatwave. This was where we met up to have dinner until the sunset. After we got out of Yogurt World, we noticed that Ippudo has already opened. It was only 6pm and there were already a few people on queue. It seemed that this is the ramen joint of the moment. We waited for less than 10 minutes (I think we were 5th on queue) and was seated in a big communal  table in the middle of the restaurant. Although we were seated with other people, the table was big enough not to annoy anyone's private space and it felt festive as the music plays in the background and the staff kept on shouting Japanese greetings to patrons. The place was darkly-lit and cozy. We had a good view of the men working in the kitchen which always fascinate me. They worked fast and exuded cheer as they serve food-loving people like us. 
I love taking photos of serviettes. The Husband loved their chopsticks. 
We decided to order just two dishes. Yu-Rin-Chi, their deep-fried chicken was very crunchy. It came in a bed of salad and drizzled in tangy sweet sauce. The perfectly cooked chicken was very tasty that there was no need to add sauce anymore.
The Karaka Men Chashu came with the softest pork belly I've ever had. The Hakata-style noodles were ultra-thin and yet mouthful. The comforting broth was spicy and flavourful. 
Based on our visit, Ippudo is one ramen place to visit. But I must warn you to be prepared to wait especially if you arrive during peak hours. While we had dinner, the queue outside suddenly became one long line. So be early. 

No time to wait? They also accommodate take away requests. 

Ippudo Sydney
Level 5, Westfield Sydney
Pitt Street, Sydney NSW
Phone: 02 8078 7020