There are some things that go hand-in-hand with a cold winter’s day. Woollen beanies and socks, scarves, movies, a roaring fireplace, a cup of tea, warm hot chocolates and coffee (or any hot beverage in fact) and indulgent food. I’m thinking warm crusty bread, slow cooked roasts, flavoursome and hearty stews, puddings with butterscotch sauce and a big bowl of my beloved Ramen. On Tuesday night, we visited Ippudo, which has been open in Pitt St Westfield for over a year now. I originally tried Ippudo on my travels in New York in 2012. We were looking for the best place to grab ramen in Manhattan, as the weather was cold and a hot bowl of pork broth soup was just what we wanted. You can check out some of my New York travel photos of Ippudo here.
Ippudo originally started in Japan, and has since expanded across the globe to Malaysia, USA, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, China and now Australia. Check out a video about them here. They have a second store opening in the middle of September at Central Park, which is the new shopping centre near Central station and across from UTS. I have heard that Din Tai Fung is also setting up shop there, giving students and business peeps a good choice for lunch and dinner options in the area.
We begin with a serve of the infamous Ippudo Pork Buns. I absolutely love these. The steamed bun is filled with braised pork and the Ippudo special sauce, which must have magical tastebud powers as it makes this folded bun of joy taste so good.
We order some of the entree dishes as well, before tucking into our bowls of soup and noodles. The Wagyu Steak with Sauce Japonaise is a meat lovers dream. We requested medium rare and it was cooked to perfection, with the meat melting in your mouth and the sauce adding a bit of smokiness. The bean sprouts add that crunchy texture and more sustenance to the dish. I almost enjoy them as much as the Wagyu. Call me odd, but I am a big fan of vegetables.
Look at that meaty goodness.
Next up, we have some more protein, this time in the form of Crispy Chicken with Spicy Sauce. I have made schnitzel many times before, but I need to know how they get their outer batter to be so crisp and delicious. Along with my love of vegetables, I have a great fondness for crunchy food, with this being a perfect example. The chicken inside is very tender and flavoursome, unlike the dry varieties you sometimes see.
And now for the main event, the Ramen! With multiple choices on the menu our friendly waitress educates me on the different options available. Having a strong fondness for chilli, I go with the Karaka Men Tomago. This is served with the Ippudo original tonkatsu broth and their special spicy miso and ground pork blend. I also get the Tamago, which is the flavoured egg served on top. My broth is full of flavour and served nice and hot, warming me right up. When we ordered, we were also asked how hard we wanted our noodles cooked. The options are soft, medium, hard and extra hard. The waitress suggests to order them hard, as the noodles will slowly soften whilst you get through the generous portion.
Ippudo also offer seasonal Ramen dishes that change every so often. Sam chooses the Spicy Black, a spiced up version of the standard Tan Tan Men, with an added flavour/spice kick from the black garlic oil. The ball sitting in the broth is some of the Ippudo sesame paste. Once mixed in, it gives a lovely nutty flavour and makes the dish a lot heavier in flavour compared to my option. Sam ordered his ramen as the special, which comes with a side dish of extra simmered pork belly, roasted seaweed, black mushrooms, shallots and bamboo shoots.
As hard as we try, we cant finish off the whole bowl of ramen each. Maybe a few less entrees next time, and I’m sure it will be possible. We both loved our choices and the complexity of flavours within the broth. I know this will be a favourite option for most people this winter, as it really is the perfect meal for when the weather gets cooler, or even a yummy lunch option if you are shopping in the city.
Interior communal tables.
MKC dined on behalf of Ippudo Sydney.
Level 5 (Shop 5021), 188 Pitt Street, Sydney, NSW, 2000.
Ippudo Central Park
Level 1, RB07, 28 Broadway, Chippendale, NSW
Have a good weekend everyone. Happy eating xxx