The frequency of my posts dropped from once a week to close to once a month… I have no excuses anymore! Though I did just come back from a trip to Cairns and Gold Coast which was really awesome and gave me some unsightly tanlines. Finally, I have a day to myself just to stay at home and write up a blog post and sip on all the T2 tea I got as presents for Christmas and my birthday. The future is bright.
Anyway, next on the list to review is the famous Ippudo Sydney, particularly the one at Sydney Westfield. This was the nominated place for my birthday dinner, but of course, me being the dumb person I am, I didn’t reserve a table beforehand. I was extremely close to just going to another restaurant because I was just so hungry but I stayed when I saw my friends at the front of the line, surprising me for my birthday! So Ippudo it was, despite the relatively long wait.
Now, there’s always a problem with having a large group of people together for dinner, especially at a very busy restaurant – finding a table. We had some issues because obviously, I didn’t want to be separated from my friends who specially came to see me for my birthday. And even when we found a table, they didn’t let us add any seats so we could squish in even though we insisted that it wouldn’t bother us. Somehow we got lucky and found two tables next to each other and immediately started ordering.
Add the word ‘homemade’ to anything and it will always make it seem a little special whether ‘homemade’ would be better or worse than the non-homemade version. Unfortunately, I couldn’t really tell the difference with this lemon lime bitter but I guess it’s nice to know it’s not straight out of the bottle.
My anaconda don’t want none unless you got buns, hun.
With my uh, anaconda, being my a metaphor for my stomach, of course. Why get one bun when you can get three? So to expand our horizons, we got one of each: pork, shrimp and chicken. Without a doubt, the braised pork bun was my favourite because of the flavour and texture of the soft pork inside an even softer bun is something to die for. Definitely would’ve enjoyed it more if it had more extras added inside the buns or make it bigger since it is a little on the pricey side.
The last (and first) time I had deep fried cheese before this was at home – a group of friends and I wanted to follow our fat hearts in the midst (or after, I forget) of HSC stress and there is no better way to do it than fry some cheese sticks in a pool of oil. If you love cheese, I definitely recommend trying some at least once (or ten times) in your life.
I’ve never seen deep fried cheese in restaurants so I was surprised when this arrived at the table – camembert cheese deep fried tempura style. One thing I didn’t understand is the need to add sea salt on top of cheese that is already quite salty.
Now onto what we’re all here for: the ramen!
So I’m going to review these together because since they are all ramen, they share a lot of similarities. What I love about ramen is that there’s a ramen for everyone – some like the soup thick and flavoursome, others like it more subtle and light; others like it spicy or with a hint of garlic. For me, it all depends on my mood! That night I was feeling pretty adventurous and opted for the spicy one (Akamaru Shinaji) which was spicy enough to make you sweat a bit but not too much to sacrifice flavour of everything else. If you want something lighter, you could go for the classic tonkotsu base ramen, Shiromaru Motoaji which I think is a great all-rounder ramen for everyone. And if you want to up the flavour by a notch, go for the Ippudo Karaka Men which I like to think a more fragrant version of the Shiromaru Motaji ramen because of the added miso paste and glorious garlic oil.
Now what makes Ippudo stands out from other ramen stores is the noodles – you have a choice to cook it hard, medium or soft, ramen noodles for everyone! The waitress recommends it hard and that’s the one we all went for and it was just beautiful. I’ve never had ramen noodles cooked so perfectly with the right elasticity and hardness before. A real reminder on how important the noodles of every noodle dish is; even if the flavour is great, the texture also needs to be great.
Okay, by now, the flavour of the ramen soup is hanging onto our palates for dear life. The only logical decision is to have dessert! One of the main reasons we chose Ippudo is because of my friend’s insistence that we try the green tea lamington because she has an infamous obsession with green tea. I love green tea too, so I was on board. No seriously though, look at the green tea icing glistening in the photo – give me a tub of that and I will lick it clean. The ice cream didn’t really serve a purpose with the lamington but it does make the plate look less empty, I guess.
I am aware that anything that is grey or black isn’t the most physically desirable thing to eat. I also understand that black sesame is a hit-or-miss for some people so this was probably the least popular of the desserts. However, if you love black sesame like me, this is true to its name and has a light black sesame taste to it and a lovely, creamy and soft texture.
I’m enjoying the Australian twists to these desserts a lot. Though this is just your typical Japanese sundae with a citrus twist from the mandarin oranges and apricots. One thing I love about Japanese sundaes is that they add cornflakes to everything. Cornflakes and icecream or froyo is the best combination, even though my friends often judge me for adding piles of cornflakes on my froyo!
Conclusion: I had a lot of high expectations coming into this place; even though I was a little concerned for the service there as our orders were mixed up and forgotten. The food, however, was very well-rounded and definitely won my heart over with the fantastic noodles. I would expect nothing less from a chain that is rapidly popping up new stores all around the world at an exponential rate.
Recommendations: J. Lamington, any ramen
Address: Shop 5021, Level 5, Westfield Shopping Centre/188 Pitt Street Sydney Australia, 2000
Opening hours: Monday – Sunday: 11.00AM – 10.00PM
Date visited: Thursday, 20th November 2014