Never a slow moment at Ippudo Sydney!
Thinking that we’d avoid the crowds at Sydney Westfield’s Ippudo, we rocked up at 2.30pm to find that there was still a line-up to dine in! What the?
But it was a fast moving line, so by the time we had decided what we wanted to order (studying their online menu on the phone) it was our turn to be seated. When we headed into the dining area, we were a little taken aback by the seating arrangements- it was like going away with a bunch of friends- needing to share a bedroom with another couple? But on this occasion, we had to share a kidney shaped table with a party of 4. When taking our seats, I was tempted to ask the table “Hey? What are we all having?” But obviously I just internalised this, as I’m not that charismatic! Hehehe.
We ordered from the Ramen section of the menu; my wife ordered the Shiromaru Motoaji- Tonkutsu broth with thin noodles, and pork loin chashu ($16 +$2 for an extra boiled egg); I had the Tori Shoyu- Clear chicken broth, with medium wavy noodles and seasoned chicken breast chashu ($16 +$2 for an extra boiled egg); and a Grape Soda with tapioca to share ($7).
Taking in the store’s ambiance, it’s all pretty chic, with a wavy bamboo ceiling and black tiled floors. And in addition to the large share tables, there’s solo study-nook dining tables, and some comfy couch seating against the walls. Just to try another style of seating alone, I’m tempted to come back here! Also there were other segments of the menu we’d like to try at a future visit (sushi, rice bowls, and bao).
And soon our Grape soda arrived – not only was the soda grape-flavoured, but so were the tapioca pearls! It tasted a bit too bubble-gummy at first, but you get use to the flavour after a while.
And after the initial group of 4 left our table, our ramens arrived!
The bowls were modern (like a blossoming trumpet flower); my noodles were nice and thick, wavy like the ceiling; the toppings were all fresh (bamboo, shallots and seaweed); the chicken was thick-sliced and cooked just right; while the broth was a little salty, but nothing a bit of complementary water and grape juice couldn’t dilute. And the star of my dish was the $2 boiled egg! I think the egg was poached in a flavoured broth, so the entire egg right down to the yoke was flavourful! Yum!
My wife’s ramen was the thinner noodle but chewier than mine; instead of chicken she had thin slices of pork, but more substantial than your run-of-the-mill ramen pork slices; and her toppings included slithers of sliced black fungus which added texture. The highlight for her was the pork as it was meaty, without the usual rim of fat.
And when we were part way through our noodles (after 3pm by now), another party of 4 took up the vacated seats on our table and started to peruse the menu. After they made their orders I was tempted to ask them “Hey, do you want to split the bill 6 ways?” But seeing that they each ordered drinks, we would probably lose out on this divisible……So I kept my noodle-ly mouth shut.
In the end, the food was good, can’t fault it at all! But it was the unique seating arrangement which stood out for me.
End verdict, 4.5 Stars from 5! (3 from 3 for Food (Not the best ramen we’ve ever had (in Ramen Vs Ramen- Yasaka Ramen is still No. 1 in our books) but as stand-alone dishes, we couldn’t fault it); 0.5 from 0.5 for Service (we had an entire team of waitresses serve us, who were all polite and efficient); 0.5 from 0.5 for Atmosphere (sharing a table was actually novel, rather than a knock on the experience); and 0.5 from 1 for Value for Money ($43 for 2 is a little steep, but after our meal last week at Mr. Wong’s $43 seems like a bargain in comparison)).
And when we left at almost half past 3, the restaurant was still at 75% capacity and with the early dinner crowd only minutes away, it does look like Sydney’s branch of Ippudo never has a slow moment! We will be back, to try the other segments of their menu, and their other seating arrangements!
Ippudo- Saturday 18 May (4.5 Stars)
PH: (02) 8078 7020
Shop 5021, Level 5 Sydney Westfield’s, 188 Pitt Street, Sydney
Mon-Wed 11am – 10pm
Thurs-Sat 11am – 11pm
Sun 11am – 9pm