The Ippudo in Macquarie Centre is an anomaly in the chain. Whereas staff at the stores in Chippendale or the CBD take your order at the table and the bill is paid after finishing your meal, at Macquarie Park you get up to order and pay upfront at the counter after you’re seated. The menu is truncated and the experience is less dining, and more fast food for the same price.
In this super casual environment, D tries their Akamaru Shinaji ($16.00). This is their ‘original tonkotsu brother enhanced with special blended miso paste and fragrant garlic oil, served with thin noodles, simmered pork belly, bean sprouts, black fungus and spring onions’.
With the fact that D and I aren’t particular fans of ramen, he enjoyed the pork belly most of all for its flavour and tenderness but otherwise found not much noteworthy about the ramen. The flavours of the soup with the garlic oil and miso paste were a too mellow for his taste and he would have preferred a bolder flavour.
Shying away from their signature ramen, I try the Salmon & Avocado Rice Bowl ($10.00) with ‘diced raw salmon and avocado on a bed of white rice sprinkled with sweet sakura powder’.
The serving of fish is surprisingly generous, although the wide shallow plate makes the serving look deceptively small compared to the rice. In reality, I had enough salmon, avocado, cucumber and egg omelette for all my spoonfuls of rice. The flavour is quintessentially Japanese, with my only complaint being the dressing being a tad too salty. I would still prefer the Kaisen Don at Ramen Kan in Haymarket for the satisfying addition of tuna.
And of course, no meal at Ippudo is complete without their Karaage (3 pieces for $4.00), which are crispy and juicy morsels of deliciousness at Chippendale. Here, the karaage is still decent, but the chicken is less juicy and the batter is less crispy.
If I’m ever in the mood for Ippudo, I’ll stick to the stores in Chippendale and the CBD for the attentive service and consistent quality.
Ippudo is located at Level 3 Upper, Macquarie Centre, Corner of Herring Rd & Waterloo Road, North Ryde NSW 2113.