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Ippudo, Chippendale

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Ippudo trans­lates to ‘one wind hall’ in Japanese, and the ramen chain is so named (accord­ing to Wikipedia) because ‘at the time, there were dark clouds over the Kyushu ramen industry, and the founder CEO Kawahara inten­ded to “blow wind and revolu­tion­ise the era“‘. While I’m not one to seek out ramen, it’s a main­stay of T’s diet. So, on his week off, I joined him and N to slurp some noodles at the now glob­al chain that is Ippudo.

But first off, some side dishes.

Not hav­ing had my crav­ing for kara-age sat­is­fied by the dis­ap­point­ing teishoku at Yayoi, the Kara-age at at Ippudo ($4 for 3 pieces) hits the spot. Each piece has a crispy thin bat­ter hid­ing some very juicy cuts of chick­en thigh. So tasty, I could’ve eaten a whole plate of this crispy juicy good­ness!

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These are the Yamaimo Fries ($8), Japanese moun­tain yam sticks lightly battered and deep fried with a salted sea­weed gar­nish and served with ter­iyaki mayo. The tex­ture was some­where between potato and sweet potato fries, while being crispy on the out­side with a more-ish­ness from the sea­weed salt and ter­iyaki mayo.

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On our first vis­it to Ippudo some years ago, we’d ordered three dif­fer­ent buns, with N and I hav­ing the inten­tion of shar­ing and T believ­ing he could eat this Shrimp Katsu Bun ($5 each or $13 for 3), which turned out to be the best of the three, all by him­self. So this time, we order three of the same so there’s no shar­ing involved! The shrimp is fresh with a beau­ti­fully golden crispy bat­ter that paired well with the crispy lettuce, the slight tang of the suc­cu­lent shrimp and the soft­ness of the steamed bun.

While the Japanese can enjoy ramen with broth that’s so thick you can stand a spoon in it like mud, I habitu­ally go for the clearest broth on the menu. And this is the Tori Shoyu ($15) with house­made medi­um-wavy noodles in a clear chick­en broth blen­ded with spe­cial bonito extract, topped with ori­gin­al chick­en chashu, bam­boo shoots, chopped leek, Japanese fish cake, spring onions and roas­ted sea­weed.

This was decent ramen. I miss the fla­voured egg that’s a stand­ard fea­ture in all ramens in Japan, though. Otherwise, the chick­en broth had good fla­vour although a pro­nounced fla­vour of leeks and spring onions came through even after tak­ing them out, the chick­en was a tad dry, and the medi­um noodles had a bit too much bite.

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And a few months later, the Ippudo at Central Park cel­eb­rated the second anniversary of its open­ing with $10 ramen. This is the Shiromaru Motoaji (nor­mally $15), a clas­sic Hakata style ramen with their ‘ori­gin­al creamy tonkotsu broth served with thin and straight noodles, pork loin, bean sprouts, black fungus and spring onions’.

The broth had an enjoy­able depth of fla­vour, with the pork loin here being more fla­vour­some and juici­er than the chick­en breast chashu in the Tori Shoyu, and the bean sprouts and black fungus adding a pleas­ant crunch.

Ippudo is loc­ated at Central Park RB07, Lower Ground Floor, 28 Broadway, Chippendale NSW 2008.