Of course, why not!
As a noodles fan, and with support of Sydney's wet and windy weather these days, a piping hot bowl of ramen is much welcomed.
Ippudo specializes in Hakata-style ramen, where a bowl includes thin and straight noodles and milky and cloudy tonkotsu broth. The perfect consistency and flavour of the broth are achieved by boiling pork bones in alkaline mineral water for 15 hours.
After placing your ramen order, you will be asked about your preference of the level the noodles' hardness. I always go for the normal one which works perfectly for me. Apparently they have yawa level as the softest one, barikata level which will just need 5 seconds to cook the noodles, harigane that will take 2 seconds, and the hardest one, koneotoshi, which is practically raw noodles.
According to Annie's post, the noodles are made fresh and delivered from their factory in Marrickville to Westfield, and they use local ingredients for the food they serve.
Located nicely on a corner of Westfield's Level 5 Food Court, the place is dominated with elegant colour combination of brown, red, and black. It looks classy, and the activity of the chefs and bar staff can amuse you enough while queuing for a table.
Upon entering, you will be welcomed by a loud yell of 'irrashaimase' or 'welcome' in Japanese, sounded by a handful of staffs. It did seem that they have a big number of staff, but it didn't make the place look too crowded.
I am also impressed by the interior. It has Japanese cultural touch, looking refined and chic. Every lines and curves are positioned perfectly, and I also love the decoration of bowls and spoons on a wooden cabinet.
There are some tables of groups, and there are also some communal tables for smaller groups of two or for the ones that don't mind sharing a table with strangers. My fav spot would be the one in front of the kitchen, where you can see the action while slurping the final product.
|Entry and interior|
A printed serviette and black chopsticks were neatly arranged on the table, an soon the menu book was offered. The staffs were really approachable, one of them provided a box to put our purses and bags in, which was really appreciated.
I started off with the popular pork bun, the item that is even more popular than the ramen itself. They produced 400-500 pork buns per day, and the popularity is sure suit the delicious morsel well. It is so good I even made a love letter for it.
Apparently the pork belly cut is the same as the one on the ramen bowls, but this one is cooked for 20 hours in Ippudo's special sauce. The mouth-watering pork belly is sandwiched by a fluffy, soft bun along with lettuce and some squirt of mayonnaise.
|Pork bun (steamed bun with braised pork and Ippudo's original sauce) - $4|
Literally, shiromaru means white while motoaji means original taste. Shiromaru motoaji is said to be the classic, combining light tonkotsu broth with thin noodles, pork loin, cabbage, black mushroom, and shallot. Among the three bowls I have sampled, this one is the tamest in terms of flavour.
|Shiromaru tomoaji (Ippudo original tonkotsu broth served with thin noodles, pork loin, cabbage, black mushroom and shallot) - $15|
The akamaru uses special blended miso paste and garlic oil to bring it to another level, and because I don't like to have regrets in life I added a flavoured egg to the bowl. Akamaru tamago has the same tonkotsu broth and thin noodles as shiromaru, but the ball of miso paste which has minced pork in it and the aromatic garlic oil add more layers of delicious complexity. Pork belly is the cut of choice for this one, instead of pork loin that shiromaru has.
Taken from Confession of a Glutton's post, the best way to enjoy this bowl is to taste the tonkotsu broth first and then add the other condiments gradually instead of immediately stir all of the elements together. I'll keep that in mind next time.
|Akamaru tamago (Ippudo original tonkotsu broth enhanced with special blended miso paste and fragrant garlic oil, served with thin noodles, pork belly, black mushroom, shallot, and flavoured egg) - $18|
I went for the normal level of noodles firmness, and it worked perfectly to my taste. The flavoured egg has gooey yolk in the centre; just another thing to make my day brighter.
|Thin noodles and flavoured egg|
Another thing that I am very impressed in is the pork belly cut. It is so juicy, has beautiful ribbon of fat, and literally melts in contact with the tongue. It breaks apart easily from the gentlest flick of your chopsticks.
This one is actually from my first visit, the day where I didn't bring my camera and the phone was all I have. So please excuse the dodgy quality. The worst picture of the post is actually of my most favourite bowl of ramen from Ippudo. Tragic.
Karakamen is the spiciest sister, it seems. It uses medium-size and wavy noodles, different from the other two. It is said to go better with the bigger flavour of the spicy miso paste. There is more miso paste on this one, along with grounded pork and some crushed cashew nuts.
To me, my bowl of karakamen tamago left the most wonderful impression. It is spicier, somehow richer in flavour, and I can't fault the addition of the crushed nuts. Everything goes very well together. And not to mention the lovely egg too.
|Karakamen tamago (Ippudo original tonkotsu broth with special spicy miso and ground pork, served with flavoured egg) - $19|
I also got to try one of their dessert: matcha ice cream. I am not a fan of matcha, but this one has a great texture and not-too-overwhelming trace of green tea. I even enjoyed my share.
|Matcha ice cream - $4|
In the end of the day though, Ippudo's ramen maybe isn't the one I will be getting for my lunch break so often. My wallet will cry itself to death if I do so. But I think I'll pop up often just to takeaway one pork bun. Or two.. or even more.
P.S. I refer a lot to Random Foodie and Confession of a Glutton's posts of Ippudo for information. Thanks, guys!
Currency: $1 = IDR 9,200
Rating: 4/5 (Recommended)
Good ramen although more pricey than the other joints, excellent pork bun (which plays a big part in my decision of the rating), service is helpful and friendly although can be a bit noisy, ambiance is really nice but be prepared to be seated on communal tables.
Level 5 Westfield Sydney 188 Pitt St
Sydney, NSW 2000
Phone: (02) 9573 0011