Ippudo, Macquarie Park

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.