Ippudo Sydney (3) | Sydney CBD

[UPDATE] Ippudo Sydney will open a new, second location at Central Park: Level 1 RB07, 28 Broadway Chippendale 2008 in the middle of September.

Having been to Ippudo Sydney about six times now, I can say that I’m intimately familiar with its menu. While there have been detractors here and there, I do earnestly believe that Ippudo is one of Sydney’s best ramen joints – and I’ve eaten at almost all of them.

So why not celebrate by opening a second store? YAY!

Some time in August, Ippudo will be opening a second location in Central Park (exact location TBA), as part of the “Japanification” of the area. As part of a “pre-celebration”, so to speak, Ippudo has cordially invited I’m Still Hungry to sample their Westfield store’s menu one more time, in advance of the new store’s opening.

While the Usual Disclaimer does apply, long-time readers of this blog already know that I’m a fan of the chain – evidence here, and here.

Let’s slurp.

Date Last Visited: 10/6/14
Address: Level 5 Westfield Sydney 188 Pitt StSydney, NSW 2000
Recommended Dish(es): pork buns, any ramen

Let’s get right into it, shall we? While Ippudo’s menu changes with surprising frequency, their ramen and their pork buns remain stalwarts. You come for the ramen, you stay for the pork bun…aaaannnnd the ramen.

Ippudo Sydney

Yep, it’s them pork buns again – steamed bun w/braised pork & Ippudo “original” sauce ($4)

It’s been a few months since I’ve had Ippudo’s famous pork buns, and I’m glad they haven’t changed in price since their debut. Deliciously, they taste even better than when I first had them – my main arguments against them can mostly be dismissed now. The only quibble is that I still can’t accept a piece of lettuce to go with a pork bun. It’s a bit contrived.

Other than that though, it’s the same fluffy white bun, the porcine belly soft and tender, with the right amount of fat running through it, but also not too oily. I could eat nothing else but these for lunch, with no complaints. Trust my biased, Asian upbringing where buns such as these are common fodder for the stomach 😀

Ippudo Sydney samurai ribs

Samurai ribs – pork spare ribs, reduction of koikuchi soy sauce w/orange purée & seven-spice chilli peppers ($18)

Since I visit Ippudo often (by my standards), trying out new items on the menu to complement my ramen is always part of the mission. These samurai ribs w/koikuchi soy sauce comes recommended by the staff themselves, as we were scratching our heads on what to order.

The meat is tender and cooked well enough that it can be pried off the bone with a knife and fork (with a sliver of adversity, but the good things are worth working for). To clean the ribs, you have to be quite deft, or resort to  using hands. First date food this ain’t.

On the other hand, if your first date ain’t brimming with as much excitement as you over these ribs, it may be time to reconsider your preferences*

*There is a reason why I don’t run a dating blog.

While I’d have preferred to dial down the sauce, the overally flavour of the ribs is quite nice. It’s heavy, but you’re ordering ribs, so what are you expecting, really? I would order this dish again, but I would never have the entire portion to myself. As it comes in threes, it’s a good order for a 3-person meal. One each, and you’ll still have room left for ramen.

Ippudo Sydney barramundi

Barramundi saikyo yaki – grilled barramundi marinated w/sweet saikyo miso & wasabi sauce ($16)

I’ve been greedily eyeing the barramundi saikyo yaki for some time now, but I’ve never committed, as there have been plenty of other fish cooked in similar fashion, available elsewhere. As my meal was on the house, I figured I’d give it a go.

As I’m already biased towards fish cooked in this manner, my natural reaction is to give a big, fat “LIKE” for this dish. Relatively speaking, it’s not in the same league as say, Ocean Room or Yoshii.

It does differentiate in the inclusion of a wasabi element to the sauce, which divided me somewhat, but wasabi lovers will no doubt rejoice at. All in all, a dish you could pass on, but would not regret if you made the order.

Ippudo Sydney karaka men

Karaka men – tonkotsu broth w/special spicy miso & ground pork ($17). Special edition w/extra pork belly, roasted seaweed & bamboo shoots ($24 instead of $17)

My opinion on Ippudo’s Karaka Men ramen has remained unchanged since the very first time I’ve had it. It’s still fantastic, and works best with kata “hard” noodles. Remember folks, Ippudo allows you to specify how hard you want your noodles. I lean away from soft as I prefer texture.

Ippudo Sydney

Hard noodles, life’s too short for softies

The spicy broth which is heighted by the spicy ground pork is just sublime. It’s one of my top 3 favourite ramen in Sydney, easily. Not afraid to call that – give me a bowl of Karaka Men any day and you’ll have a happy belly in Shen!

Ippudo Sydney tori shoyu ramen

Tori shoyu ramen – chicken chashu, menma, leeks, naruto & nori in chicken & bonito broth ($15). Special version $22

While the the Karaka Men remains my fave, I do want to try new things, so my eye fell on the tori shoyu ramen, which is Ippudo’s soy-based ramen. I must have been blinded by the Akamaru Shinaiji and Karaka Men variants, as I’ve never even observed this option to exist on the menu.

Boy, I am glad I got it though, it’s quite the delicious bowl of goodness! What struck chords with me is the chunky, robust pieces of chicken, which is quite fragrant, as well as an absolute pleasure to munch through.

Ippudo Sydney ramen

Instant noodles, but you know, at $22

Back it up with a solid, no-complaints soy broth, and you’re already getting to the finish line.

For both ramen, we loaded up on the “special” variants, which include an additional side plate of toppings. Be warned – if a normal bowl fills you up, you don’t want to get this. The extra toppings plate is chock full of extra meat, chives, bean sprouts, nori…you get the idea. We got the specials for both, and it was boss.

Ippudo Sydney

6 visits on and still no regrets

Ippudo’s second opening at Central Park is going to make the UTS kids very happy indeed. I’m just glad that the first one is already so close to my workplace. Quality ramen is never too far away 🙂

As usual, feel free to leave a comment or three 😀

Awesome:

  • Great ramen, as always
  • An array of complementary dishes that are more than just filler

Not so Awesome:

  • Pricey for ramen
  • Slight quality inconsistencies depending on the visit

8/10 Caesars

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