Low and behold a year later Ippudo has opened up shop in Westfield Sydney so my opportunity to try their legendary ramen was finally able to come true...along with half of Sydney! Although their prices are...not cheap, I'm fairly sure it's the steep rent that Westfield charge and not Ippudo's use of free-range pork that accounts for their pricy ramen. There was a major lost-in-translation moment when trying to ascertain the provenance of their porky goods - sometimes you've just gotta go with the flow and do the best you can when you can. Which is not at Ippudo.
The queues at Ippudo are HUGE and The BFF and I beat the queues by arriving for an early dinner on a Tuesday night. Yet again my tendency towards nana dining hours has paid off. We walked right in at 5.30pm and got a seat...by 6.00pm their was a queue out the door and a wait an hour long!
We kick things off with a few nibbles - probably a mistake considering that the ramen is pretty filling, but we just HAD to try the Pork Buns here ($4.00). A thick slab of braised pork with Ippudo's slightly spicy "original sauce" comes sandwiches between a soft pillowy steamed-bun. It's REALLY GOOD and it's hard to stop at just one.
As I'm in love with Chinese cucumber with soy, chilli + garlic I CANNOT go past Ippudo's Japanese cucumber that is seasoned with a sesame oil dressing and topped with sesame seeds and a chilli powder. It's light and refreshing and it just has to be healthy, right? A serve of Gyoza ($6.00) are small, but very flavoursome and has us wishing there were six and not five dumplings.
Ippudo here in Sydney offer up just three types of ramen - all with a porky tonkotsu broth so it's not a vegetarian friendly place by any stretch of the imagination.
Showing that great minds do think alike The BFF and I both order the Akamaru Chashu ($20.00) - a big steaming bowl of tonkotsu (pork) broth that isn't as thick, or as porky, as Gumshara's legendary ramen. The Akamaru on its own is $16 - add another $2 for a flavoured, soft yolked egg and another $2 for some fatty, silky, melt-in-your-mouth pork belly. The broth is topped with a fragrant blend of miso paste and garlic oil which is simply magical - I love the slightly garlicy, slightly salty taste that this lends to the broth. The noodles are quite thin and are not the highlight of the ramen by any means, but we like the novelty of choosing how well done the noodles are cooked...we go with "hard" which we're told is the way it's done in Japan.
Our waitress provides us with some white and black peppercorns so we can spice up our ramen if we like. How amazing is this sesame seed grinder? I simply MUST have one for home, for those rare occasions when I need to smoosh sesame seeds. I'm just not sure where I can find one in Sydney?
I'm WAY too full for dessert by The BFF has his heart set on trying the Kurogoma Panna Cotta ($7.00). The panna cotta is as light as a feather and the black sesame flavour is delicate but definitely present. Black sesame always reminds me of cookies + cream...
The ramen isn't cheap here but considering the amount of food we ate I think that $36 each isn't too bad for the city. Would I come back - hell yeah, I already have!
Ippudo Sydney can be found on Level 5 of Westfield Sydney, Pitt Street Mall, Sydney.