In a city not short on a bowl of ramen, this soupy joint stands out from the crowd.
This global franchise created quite the buzz when it landed on Australian shores. From its humble beginnings in Japan in 1985, Ippudo now boasts over 100 locations across the world firmly securing its place as a ramen mecca. Despite its location inside the Westfield Sydney food court, this particular outpost still achieves the authentic ramen house feel. It might have something to do with the queues and bustling atmosphere. Then again, it could be the fit-out. It is a mostly black, red and timber palette with a fun wall display of traditional spoons. There is a blend of long communal tables for groups and bar-style seating overlooking the kitchen to keep individual diners entertained.
For first-timers, the shiromaru ($15) — Hakata-style ramen with juicy pork loin, crunchy bean sprouts and silky black mushrooms — is the speciality that put Ippudo at the top of the ramen trade. Add the nitamago ($2), a delicious yet slippery whole flavoured egg, at your own risk. Whatever your ramen preference, order the noodles hard, as recommended — they will keep cooking as you make your way through the bowl, slowly but surely. Ippudo Sydney combines local products with Ippudo's flavouring and noodle concept; the Aussie patrons are also considered in the unconventional shojin ($15), a vego option with seaweed and whole grain noodles that would not be present on a Japanese menu.
If you're feeling extra peckish, order kaedema ($2) — an extra serving of noodles — ensuring you have enough broth left over to slurp them down with. Or perhaps explore the rest of the menu, which features signature steamed buns, gyoza and a selection of meat and rice dishes including karaage chicken and salmon sashimi.