Noodle lovers can rejoice as one of Japan’s most famous ramen stores has finally reached our shores. With numerous outlets already open across Japan, Hong Kong and New York, Ippudo’s first ever Australian store has opened amongst the hustle and bustle of Sydney’s Westfield food precinct on level five.
The Ippudo empire was founded in 1985 by Shigemi Kawahara (aka the Ramen King), who won his place in the Ramen Hall of Fame after winning three consecutive ramen competitions on a Japanese TV show. Not content with fame within Japan, his empire has now taken hold across seven countries. “I strongly desire that through a humble bowl of ramen, the Japanese spirit can be spread around the world,” Kawahara explains.
The Sydney store is a welcoming affair, with a long bar lined with stools at the entrance where those without time to stop and sit inside the restaurant can snag a quick bowl. Inside, long, low wooden tables with cute little chairs intermingle with high benches that have a view straight into the expansive kitchen where you can watch the magic happen. A wave-like slatted timber ceiling gives a touch of warmth, while red and white bowls and utensils hang from the walls like little splashes of colour alongside traditional Japanese artworks.
The menu focuses on the all-important signature ramen dishes, such as the Akamaru Shinaji, a 25-year-old recipe made from pork bones and simmered for hours to make a tonkotsu broth which is topped with miso, garlic oil, pork, black mushroom and soybean sprouts. Noodles are cooked to your liking with five levels of softness offered, which can be a little daunting for the noodle novice!
Other menu items include Pork Buns with pork belly and Ippudo original sauce, Gyoza, Barramundi Saikyo Yaki (marinated in miso and served with wasabi sauce), and Bakuretsu Tofu (spicy tofu and minced pork in a hot stone pot).
If you’re looking for a real taste of Japanese ramen, Ippudo really hits the spot.