Ippudo saw some rapid growth in the last few years, opening up store all over Sydney. Their flagship, Sydney Westfield at Pitt Street Mall, just underwent a menu overhaul and it’s available to eat right now! We checked out 10 items off the new menu, only a fraction of what is now available. The a la carte, salad, and dessert menus are completely new, while all of the ramens have been updated and a few other new dishes sprinkled throughout.
At $12.50, it’s hard to look past the cocktails. We ordered the Kyushu Island Ice Tea (Kurokirishima, tequila, triple sec, gin, sour mix, cola) and the Pineapple Saketini (sake, vodka, pineapple juice, pineapple slice). They’re both familiar flavours with a Japanese twist, and the sweet pineapple juice makes you want to order 3 more as soon as you’ve had your first sip.
The Shio Konbu Lettuce ($8) is a light and fresh starter with a small amount of spice, and a healthy dose of shio konbu dressing. Made with oak leaf lettuce, it’s a pleasant introduction to the Japanese flavours that make up the menu.
Ebi Guacamole ($12) is Mexican inspired. Deep fried gyoza skins add a salty touch to the wasabi and avocado mix. The avocado is almost perfect – it’s creamy, fresh, and most importantly it’s ripe! No hard or bland avocados in sight. There’s a generous portion of prawn and it’s topped with cherry tomatoes and micro herbs. A really good option if you want something that leans towards fusion.
My personal favourite entree was the Spicy Goma ($8). It is quite spicy so don’t put too many pieces in your mouth. The spice level and the heat gives an amazing contrast to the chilled and refreshing slightly pickled cucumber. Fried garlic flakes on top offer a little bit of relief from the heat and add texture as well. This is a highlight that you can mindlessly snack on but not feel guilty about at all.
Carrying on the healthy but delicious theme is the Bang Bang Chicken Tofu ($11). Silken tofu covered in seasoned chicken, spicy sesame sauce, ki-kurage black fungus, cucumber, radish, and coriander. It’s served cold, it’s refreshing, and the creamy sesame sauce makes you lick the spoon clean.
One thing you probably weren’t expecting to find at a ramen shop was fine dining-esque rare duck. The Kamo Negi Yaki ($23) is a main dish rather than a side plate and come with two slices of rare duck on a umeshu black vinegar sauce that’s a bit barbeque-y in flavour and with a side salad dressed with green salsa. The two flavours are opposites, but mix really well and offer a nice contrast in the way that umami flavours can come out.
Finally, what we all go to Ippudo for.
The Tori Shoyu ($15) is a light chicken ramen with wavy egg noodles, topped with two sheets of nori seaweed, spring onion, a slice of naruto fish cake, three slices of chicken chashu, and menma bamboo shoots. The broth is on the sweet side, but it’s still that soul warming chicken soup we all know so well. The chicken chashu is flavoured as well, adding another layer to the dish.
Ippudo’s signature tonkotsu in the Shiromaru Motoaji ($15) variety is a milky pork bone soup with bean sprouts, green onions, pork loin chashu, and ki-kurage black fungus. It’s simple, it’s basic, it’s done well. Ippudo is always going to be a ramen shop, so you know they’ll always have their basics done exactly as they should be.
We did also get one of the three new desserts, the Yuzu Cheese Tart ($11). It comes with a scoop of matcha ice cream and kokutou almonds. The tart is really more of a cheesecake, and has a deliciously yuzu-rich and coconutty flavour. It’s not a dish for sharing – you’ll want one of your own. The matcha and almonds don’t shine in comparison to the cheese tart, it’s quite the standout!
The presentation is simple and beautiful, and the edible flowers add delicate detail.
Washoku Lovers was invited to give feedback on the new menu, and we received the best of Japanese hospitality – omotenashi. The famous standards of Japanese restaurants isn’t lost on the humble ramen shop, with Ippudo happily explaining each of the dishes. We recommend you head here for a date when you’d like a good mix of fast street food (the ramen) and some side dishes and desserts that will help you keep up the conversation with your lovely partner. It’s also family friendly with large tables for groups!
See you again soon, Ippudo!