It’s been a while since I’ve slurped up some tasty Ippudo ramen and I was even more excited when I heard that they’ve got a new store at Central Park. Luckily for me, I got to go to the pre-opening with all these other lovely bloggers and see what was up. Ladies and gentleman, here’s my take on Ippudo in Central Park:
Being greeted by some PR representatives and workers, walking in, as usual, was filled with the traditional IRASHAIMASE from the kitchen. With the decor inside following a similar theme (as you’d expect from a branch), it was unsurprisingly beautiful to sit down inside.
The place was packed out for the big media launch and boy, a ramen restaurant and a room full of hungry bloggers is definitely a combination you’d either want to embrace or avoid altogether:
Luckily for these guys though, they were embracing it and they sure do know how to run a nifty event like this. With my little taster pack including an entree between two people, a drink and a bowl of ramen each, I was definitely keen to start the night. Unfortunately they weren’t serving alcohol at the time so I had to resort to something a little more tamed:
Well, it was indeed a lemon lime bitter. Nothing fancy but it was nice and refreshing with the meal.
Now…entrees. Yes. With a relatively small range of dishes going from fish and chips to gyoza, I felt like something deep fried. Also with an exclusive menu offered only at the Central Park branch, I was keen to try something new. After careful contemplation, we decided to get a Chasu Croquette ($8)…between two people. No biggie.
Just looking at the photo reminds me of that amazing crisp you get from the outside of it. With the inside being creamy but not too overpowering and really saturated with the cooking juices from the meat, it was delicious! Serving size is a bit small but I guess that’s croquettes for you. I approve of this deep fried ball of meat.
And of course, why we’re all here the ramen. With the ramen menu being pretty much the same as Pitt St except a few new additions here and there, we got ourselves an Akarmaru Special and a Tori Shoyu Special. Before I begin though, just one small thing:
Now I like my extra toppings, but one thing which I really wish was otherwise was the fact that my egg came whole. I don’t know if it’s tradition or anything, but eating my eggs in halves. I can see that beautiful yolk and it’s just the right size for the mouth. Instead I had to resort to going chopstick samurai on it which kinda mashed the texture up a bit. Hopefully they choose to cut it in the future!
Now to give you a good idea, lets attack this bowl from order of importance. Number 1, the broth. Ippudo’s signature tonkotsu broth is just packed with flavour yet it isn’t too heavy or overpowering. Mixed with a ball of miso paste at the top, it really did lift that saltiness a bit up. Necessary too considering the broth itself isn’t very salty. Also with garlic oil giving it that extra bite, I really enjoyed the soup. Next thing is the noodles. Hand made Ippudo noodles are great. With a choice of how hard you want to cook them, I really enjoyed them and they complemented the dish well. And finally the toppings. Meat was so beautifully tender and fatty. No complaints.
In contrast to the Akamaru, the shoyu broth was actually really salty. With the rest of the above staying pretty much the same, the broth itself felt a bit overpowering at times and impossible to eat without having some water with you. While it is without a doubt, a deliciously flavoursome dish, toning down the soup may be required for me to have it again. But hey, it is a shoyu broth so it’s not terribly unusual.
Well, that pretty much wraps up the glorious ramen night. With the beautiful new store opened since last week in the hub of new food in Sydney, it really does beckon a visit. With extra menu items accommodating for the university student budget (one as low as $10) and some special entrees, I’m sure it’ll be a big hit. If you’re around the area (and you’ll probably find yourself around it more often than not), maybe you should check it out too.
NOTE: Thank you to SD Marketing for inviting FTC to this wonderful event. Although I was a guest at Ippudo, my opinions remained unbiased and my own.