This Japanese ramen chain is synonymous with Hakata ramen, which is rich, creamy, pork-bone broth with thin, chewy noodles.
Ippudo opened its first restaurant in 1985 in Japan’s Fukuoka prefecture, the birth place of tonkotsu ramen. It now has more than 80 stores in Japan and almost as many in America, Europe and elsewhere in Asia. In Australia there are also outposts in Sydney and Perth.
In Japan, ramen was historically associated with so-called “salarymen” – office workers looking for a quick fix at lunch or after work before catching the last train home. Ippudo espouses a more family-friendly, contemporary ramen experience.
The menu is lengthy for a ramen joint and includes courses you might not see at most. Starters include wasabi prawn guacamole, tofu with strands of crunchy noodles, and Ippudo’s signature fried chicken wings glazed with a tangy sweet sauce. There are also salads, a number of rice dishes and three desserts.
The Shiromaru Motoaji is Ippudo’s classic; it’s the original creamy tonkotsu broth cooked over 18 hours and topped with pork loin, bean sprouts, spring onion and black fungus.
The Akamaru Shinaji is the original broth combined with a special blended miso paste infused with garlic oil, then topped with the same ingredients as the Shiromaru Motoaji. Karaka-men is the original broth topped with a scoop of spicy-miso ground pork and roasted cashew, and served with thin, wavy noodles.
The drinks menu includes sake served in a Japanese wooden masu square cup, and wine and beer on tap.
The space fits 100 and features plenty of light oak, exposed concrete walls and lanterns.