Saturday, 6 September 2014

Ippudo - 1 September 2014

Ramen is one of my favourite foods, especially during the chilly winter months.  There is nothing more satisfying and comforting than slurping a big, tasty bowl of ramen noodles to warm the soul.

Ippudo in Level 5 (food court level) of Westfield Sydney is one of my most frequented restaurants in winter, not only because it's a stone throw's away from my office but also because it consistently dishes up delicious bowls of ramen.

My friend SP and I were invited to Ippudo in anticipation of the opening of its second store in Central Park. Ippudo will be a great addition to this area which already has a wide range of fine eateries like Din Tai Fun, Gelato Anita and Pappa Rich. There's also Ester and LP's Quality Meats just a few blocks away if you are looking for something a bit more special. This is all great news for UTS students, who are just across the road from Central Park. I wish I could have eaten at these places when I studied at Macquarie Uni years ago...

Ippudo Central Park (Level 1 RB07, 28 Broadway, Chippendale NSW 2008) was originally slated to open in September but unfortunately delays in the construction of the new site has meant that we will have to wait til 2nd October for its opening. Ippudo Central Park will be situated next to Max Brennar.  

Drinks up. Kanpai!
We each ordered a drink as we perused the menu. SP had a sake to ya', a cocktail containing sake, whisky, cinnamon and apple. I ordered a Suntory Premium Malts, a Pilsner that was clean and crisp with a delicate floral and fruity finish.

David tofu (normally $10)
Our first entree was David tofu, which were blocks of flash fried tofu with a thickened agedashi broth. The silken tofu was coated in a thin, crisp batter that didn't feel too oily and was topped with slightly spiced grated radish. 

Seared salmon sushi (normally $13)
We also ordered the seared salmon sushi, which was a monthly special. These were bite sized, balls of rice that were wrapped with seared salmon and topped with mentai (cod roe) mayo and avocado. These were delicious but I wished an even number of these were served to avoid that awkward moment when deciding who should have the last piece. Luckily SP was kind enough to allow me have the last one, so I got to eat 3 of these :)

Karaka men (normally $15)
I've been to Ippudo so many times that I have tried all the different bowls of ramen on offer. I decided to go for old faithful: karaka men. This bowl comes with Ippudo's signature milky tonkotsu broth and spicy miso and ground pork. Ippudo's broth strikes a good balance with something that's quite tasty and full of collagen and pork flavour without being too heavy (i.e. great for when I don't have the appetite for Gumshara's gut bomb tonkotsu). I love spicy food so for me the spicy miso and the roughly textured ground pork makes this bowl of ramen more interesting and elevates it to another level. 

The karaka men is served with medium wavy noodles. I like how you get to choose the ‘hardness’ of the noodles at Ippudo. I always ask for my noodles to be hard / al dente because few things in this world make me more happy than bouncy, chewy noodles.  

Special toppings (normally $7)
Ippudo's ramen toppings are amongst the best in Sydney's ramen stores. For $7 you get more chashu (simmered pork belly), nitamago (flavoured egg), shallots, nori, menma (flavoured bamboo shoots) and ajikiku (flavoured black mushroom). The slices of pork belly a joy to eat, with fatty, tender meat that melts in the mouth. And so is the egg, which is flavoured with soy and has a nice, oozing egg yolk within.

Tori shoyu ramen (normally $15)
For something lighter, SP decided to order the tori shoyu ramen. The broth is a chicken-based broth blended with a bonito extract and soy sauce, so there's layers of umami in this bowl. This ramen is topped with chicken chashu, menma (bamboo shoots), leeks, naruto, and nori. This bowl is also served with medium wavy noodles.

So there you have it, Ippudo is my best bet for a quick fix to satisfy my ramen cravings as it is so close to my office. Just be sure to avoid the queues on Thursday and Friday nights if you don't want to wait too long for a seat.

SP and I dined as guests of Ippudo. Thanks to Sana from SD Marketing for organising this visit.

Address: Shop 5021, Level 5, Westfield Shopping Centre/188 Pitt St, Sydney 2000
Contact no: (02) 8078 7020

Ippudo Sydney on Urbanspoon