It is with great thanks to good foodie friend Ryan La aka @foodprnaustralia and the food crew at Foodie Anthem @foodieanthem that I was invited to indulge at IPPUDO. There are four IPPUDO stores located in Sydney but we were dining at their Sydney flagship in Pitt St Westfield, Sydney.
This was possibly the largest blogger’s sit down experience with over twenty people being treated to the wonders of IPPUDO. Oddly IPPUDO is world famous for their ramen however we were not served any ramen but instead allowed to eat their other treats. Treats I fell in love with. As for the ramen – I will return.
From IPPUDO themselves……
“IPPUDO was founded in 1985 in Japan’s ramen capital of Hakata by Shigemi Kawahara, the internationally renowned Ramen King. With over 80 stores in Japan, IPPUDO is now spreading its authentic rame throughout the world. After the successful opening of its first international outlet in New York in 2008, IPPUDO is now present in Australia, Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, China, Taiwan and the United Kingdom, with plans of further expansion.
Everywhere, their mission remains the same: to spread “Smile” and “Arigatou” through bowls of ramen.
“To continuously innovate to remain true”
Ramen has become soul food in Japan with a wide variety and easy availability. IPPUDO brings the true and authentic ramen with much effort being invested on producing the highest quality soup, noodles and other ingredients in every place it operates. With ramen of the highest quality, hospitable service with attention to detail and unique ambience, IPPUDO aims to create an exquisite and delightful ramen dining experience for its customers throughout the world.”
IPPUDO’s venue in Westfield Sydney is just stunning. It is mainly tan wood coloured throughout with a lot of wood in use. It is one giant square shape with tables being able to be re-arranged into different configurations. There are then further tables that run the edge of the venue. Not all tables are square or rectangle and are broken up with kidney shaped tables that soften the edges. These rounded tables compliment the stunning wooden ceiling that is in the shape of wave ripples.
The lighting is soft and ambient and the entire venue feels like it needs a big feng shui tick of approval. The entry gets quite large queues of people waiting and the front of the venue is a large bar where people, I presume, can sit and have a drink while waiting for a table.
W O W – I could nearly just leave it at that. I have had some refined Japanese cuisine in my time but not like this. The attention to detail on presentation, flavour and ingredients was next level. We were basically hosted for a fifteen course degustation meal. By the end I wasn’t stuffed though, I was satisfied to perfection. Nothing was overly fatty and in true Japanese style everything tasted clean, fresh and of the highest quality. If their ramen is anything like the rest of the food we ate IPPUDO will become one of my Sydney favourites. I see they have a Chatswood venue, this could become dangerous :).
Smoked Salmon Salad | Chopped Smoked Salmon tossed in Caesar tartar dressing
IPPUDO offers three light and refreshing salads – I sampled the above Smoked Salmon salad and it was tasty but I wasn’t overly attending for salad. The Japanese Daikon salad does sound delicious though. For sizing the smoked salmon salad was served on the same plate as the Goma Q above – the cucumber dish – for that size it was $12. Very affordable and generously sized.
The appetisers are bar style snack dishes and I would have about five or six of these to share with three people. Realistically I could just eat them all myself – they are that good.
Pork Fillet Katsu Sandwich | Deep-fried pork cutlets in tonkatsu sauce and shredded cabbage sandwiched between toast
There are four serves in photograph two up, stacked behind the Goma Q. We ate them cold after a few thousand photos were taken and they were still nice – basically a pork katsu waffle – delicious snack food. I can only imagine how much nicer it would have tasted when hot.
Goma Q | Crunchy Japanese cucumber with house-made sesame dressing
I never thought I would be taken with this dish but it was flawless. The perfection in the slice thickness was enough to win me (and my OCD) over but the perfect balance of both the cucumber and the sesame dressing was enough to see me nearly finish the entire cucumber.
Ebi Avocado Delight | Fresh prawns, avocado, and capsicum coated in wasabi mayo, topped with caviar
One of my favourite dishes of the evening – this blew my mind. I ate about three people’s share of this one – the saltiness of the caviar plus its light crunch paired with the avocado and prawns – multiple foodgasm stuff right there.
Kaki age Beets | Beetroot and onion shreds deep fried and served with mayo shoyu
These were so bright – the photo doesn’t do it justice. Anything beetroot and I am all over it so this was another meal fave for me. The onion gave it that little flavour kick and the mayo was sublime.
The signature dishes was basically the buns I talk about below plus Bakeretsu Tofu, some beautiful looking Gyoza and a Tom Yum Soup Gyoza (something I need to have on my next visit).
IPPUDO Buns | Ippudo signature freshly steamed buns with original fillings
Ippudo offers three steamed buns, a pork, a chicken karaage and a shrimp katsu steamed bun. The pork bun was the one I inhaled but I was not happy with the photo. The pork bun that I ate is their most popular global dish. The steamed buns themselves were perfect little edible clouds and the pork – good Zeus. It was melt in your mouth Chashu Pork and I will eat it again!!
IPPUDO DINNER SPECIALS:
Miyazaki-Style Chicken Nanban | Crisp and juicy chicken thigh topped with Tartar sauce and vinegar sauce (above)
The Nanban was nice but paled in comparison to the last four dishes I had eaten. From memory the spicy sauce was the winner with this dish. It had a nice kick to it.
Chashu Menchi Katsu | Ground Pork and Beef balls deep fried and served on spicy sour sauce (below)
These were a delightful morsel to indulge in. The balls were tender and the sauce was incredible with a nice little kick to it. And I always find lotus root such a sexy looking addition to any dish. The tomato was perfect for the photos :). My only gripe about this dish – I only got one spoonful.
Lamb Chop | Tender lamb chops marinated in shiokoji
O M G – one of the best lamb chops I have ever eaten. So tender and the shiokoji was divine. For dummies like me, so you don’t have to Google. Shiokoji is a natural seasoning used to marinate, tenderize, and enhance the umami, or richness (one of the five basic tastes), in foods. It’s made of just a few simple ingredients, salt, water and rice koi. I will be keeping my eyes out for this on dishes now!
Lemon Garlic Shrimp | Sauteed prawns in fragrant garlic oil, served with fresh lemon
I am normally one to fight to the death for garlic prawns – staple favourite of mine. But I was discovering so many new dishes that this dish felt more like something on the menu to shut up the Aussies and American tourists. Perfect in flavour but out of place with the rest of the delights I was enjoying.
Salmon Aburi Mentai Roll | Lightly seared salmon sushi topped with avocado and mentai mayonnaise
This one was Krystal’s (@ningjaeats) favourite. As soon as she saw it was on the sampling menu she lost her shit, so to speak. Her excitement level piqued as it got closer to arriving and I discovered why when it did. It is basically the texture of butter. The salmon melted in the mouth and the backing flavours of avocado and mayo were a perfect, subtle addition that did not detract from the hints of flavour from the salmon. Beautiful.
The food was so good so far – I was in a state of delirium at the divine nature of the dishes being served. But then – out came dessert. They offer four desserts and I ate them all mwooohahahaha. Reason #264735 I can’t lose weight.
Blueberry Yogurt Sorbet
Easily the sexiest meal on the menu – this one had the food blogging mafia in a frenzy of excitement. Simple, sexy and something I would order again. The parsley was out of place but worked well in the photos :).
The rest of the desserts are below in the flat lay. I am not usually a fan of Asian desserts, less sweet and solar systems away from what my sugar addicted Aussie self is used to. However all of these desserts were more Euro Asian fusion and they were sublime.
Basically a standard cheesecake smothered in a strawberry puree – drool.
Kurogoma Panna Cotta
Kurogama is black sesame and this had more of the Asian flavouring and was such a different Panna Cotta than I have ever had. But I loved the sesame and the cream cheese worked well with the dessert. It also had good wobble that worked well in blogger videos.
Matcha brûlée with green tea ice cream and sliced strawberries. I am only getting into the matcha and have to say this was a good dessert for me to discover it more. As far as brûlées go that top made for perfect cracking and the dish tasted marvellous – if I had to pick one, this was my favourite dessert.
This will make my top ten venues for 2016. The food, the service and the venue – all two thumbs up. The presentation of dishes, the flavours experienced, the new tastes discovered and the attention to detail – applause worthy. Loved this evening and this place.
Thanks again to @foodpornaustralia and @foodieanthem for organising a brilliant event and to the venue……..bravo.
Phone: (02) 8078 7020
Mon-Wed: 11am – 10pm (FLO: 9pm / RLO: 930pm)
Thur-Sat: 11am – 11pm (FLO: 10pm / RLO: 1030pm)
Sun: 11am – 9pm (FLO: 8pm / RLO: 830pm)
- FLO = food last order, RLO = ramen last order
*** JK (and any guests of Spooning Australia) were invited guests of the establishment. However, as always, if it was shite I would happily tell you as such.