Ichi Ban Boshi
This bustling Japanese eatery on the top floor of The Galeries has been filling people's stomachs with noodles for years now. And it shows no sign of slowing down – there's almost always a queue for tables, even outside normal meal times. But the wait's well worth it. Plus there's a perfect idling spot next door at Kinokuniya.
It's mostly about the ramen here. Tokyo ramen is a good entry-level choice, with ramen noodles, slices of pork and an egg set in a soy broth. There's also miso, kimchi, tofu nori, wonton and karaage ramen varieties. Tantanmen is another favourite and features spicy pork mince dunked on top of lovely, slippery ramen noodles.
Then there's the granddaddy of them all: tonkotsu ramen. This famous pork bone noodle soup is thick and rich and not for the faint of heart. Only 15 bowls are made each day, and it's not usually ready until the early afternoon, so plan ahead if that's what you're after. Besides every conceivable ramen variety, there are comforting bowls of udon noodles, crunchy karaage-don (crispy fried chicken) and some fun Japanese curry dishes. Wash it all down with an Asahi and you'll be awfully happy.
The décor is utilitarian – you're in a shopping mall after all – but the service is cheery and the atmosphere convivial as groups gather to slurp down their noodles. In addition to the city location, Ichi Ban Boshi has a Bondi Junction branch, which offers much the same experience (although it's not licensed), and a takeaway outpost downstairs in the food court dishes out ramen to grateful office workers.
Hours vary. See website for additional location hours.
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