Japanese food is usually our go-to when it comes to eating out. Luckily, we are spoiled for choice when it comes to Japanese food on the Lower North Shore. With this in mind, we set out to try another international chain from Japan called Ippudo. Though the shop in Chatswood Interchange is small, it’s clear this is a popular spot as a line was already forming!
We were able to get a spot rather quickly, scoring the two seats in the booth on the left, giving us a wide view into the kitchen.
To start off our meal, we ordered the Yamaimo Fries. These are not your ordinary deep fried potato chips. These chips are made with Japanese mountain yam instead of potato, giving a much creamier, lighter texture and a tiny bit of sweetness. The batter was very light and crispy and the teriyaki mayo matched the yam perfectly making for n interesting and delicious take on fries, well worth a try.
The Veggie Ramen that my girlfriend ordered was beautifully presented. The first thing we noticed was the array of colour presented to us. The veggie ramen had fried mushroom, rocket, onion and a sauteéd tomato. The selection of vegetables matched the light vegetable broth well, even the rocket which is not a traditional Japanese ingredient. The noodles were very light and springy. Definitely one of the better veggie ramen bowls in Sydney.
Their specials menu caught my eye so I ordered the Hakata Tan Tan Men with the side of Unagi Meshi. The inclusion of Grana Padano, a type of cheese, in the broth was interesting addition.
The Unagi Meshi was presented beautifully. A serving of rice in a delicate ceramic bowl and topped with three carefully placed slices of preserved cucumber. The flavour was balanced, not too salty or saucy. The eel and pickled cucumber matched the rice, sauce and mushroom. Adding the ramen broth to the rice (as recommended in the menu) brought it to to the next level, adding a rich creaminess to the rice.
The Hakata Tan Tan Men was very large. The presentation of the dish was clean and very colourful. The broth was very rich and creamy, even before mixing in the cheese, and the red onion gave the dish an sharp twang. The pork mince miso was very flavourful and quite salty. There was a good amount of spice in the broth which helped cut through the richness.
Mixing up the ramen revealed the pork belly chashu and firm, springy Hakata-style noodles. It was a struggle to finish this dish but I found myself slurping down the last traces of the soup because it was so delicious! It’s a shame they will stop selling this dish at the end of March and I would gladly order this again.
Great care was even put into the Kaedama. While taking our order, our waitress asked us which ramen the noodle was for to ensure that we received the correct type of noodle. When it came out, it was clear the portion was measured exactly and was topped with a sprinkle of spring onions!
From the perfect placement of decorations around the shop to beautifully presented dishes and flawlessly balanced flavours, everything at Ippudo shows their attention to detail and care. If you want to experience a new level of ramen, Ippudo is the place to go.
Payment: Cash or card