If you have been looking up my instagram lately, you may know that I've been eating waaaay too much ramen. One of those ramen eateries where I've been having my regular fix was the newly opened Ramen Ikkyu. By now, everyone in the food scene would have at least heard about Ramen Ikkyu from the fact that Chef Haru Inukai (formerly of BlancHaru) is at the helm of this ramen joint to the excessive lines to the knowledge that they apparently serve a maximum of 150 bowls of ramen each day. A fact that I find hard to believe with those lines. Especially since I was able to order a bowl of ramen at 7pm on a Thursday and Friday night in recent weeks. Maybe it's 150 bowls for each ramen type? Or maybe it's just my luck since I've heard a few other people saying that everything was sold out by the end of lunch time on a weekend.
Those damn lines...
Like Wagaya and Mizuya, Ramen Ikkyu has adopted the 21st Century way of ordering your food using the touchscreen Ipad. The friendly staff at the counter takes your order and prepares your food while you wait. Along with your choice of ramen, you can also order additional ramen toppings such as an extra egg, slices of cha-shu or even pork rib! While the line where you wait to order your food on the ipad was fairly quick, the time to wait for your food to get ready was much longer especially with so much recent hype.
What makes Ramen Ikkyu unique to other ramen joints is the Paitan soup that they use in the Ikkyu ramen broth. This is a white broth made from a mixture of chicken and pork bones and boiled for several hours. This makes the broth to be fairly rich but not to the extent of Gumshara Ramen.
Ramen condiments including garlic, ginger and chilli flakes
I've overheard many people around me recommending the Ikkyu (shoyu) ramen/no.3 ramen so why not? The shoyu (or soy) base delivers a reasonably thick and rich broth full of flavour. While I really enjoyed this ramen, CC thought it was too thick to handle and struggled to finish. I especially loved the touch of soy used in this bowl for that extra depth in flavour. The 3 thick slices of cha-shu (pork) were somewhat sweet and incredibly tender to the point that it melts in your mouth. It was well roasted and smoked with an equal balance of pork meat and fat. It is also topped with crunchy bamboo shoots, egg, shallots, bean sprouts, seaweed and black fungus which deliver diverse layers of texture to your ramen bowl. These toppings are certainly one of the qualities that makes Ramen Ikkyu stand out over the other ramen joints. I especially loved that the soft-boiled egg (well one half of it) is already in the ramen when I order the ramen as I always forget to order it in the past. Oozy stuff!
Ikkyu (shoyu) Ramen ($10.50)
That oozy egg!
If you prefer thinner broths, then the Tokyo (shoyu) ramen is the one for you. Ramen Ikkyu uses a chicken stock in this type of ramen to make it thin though the soy enhances the overall light flavour. In addition, the noodles were springy and bouncy on this occasion. It was actually quite popular on the night I tried this dish since it was listed as sold out just after I made my order. CC tried a bit from this bowl and really loved it for its lightness. Very delicious!
Tokyo (shoyo) Ramen ($10.50)
On another visit, I tried the Ikkyu (miso) Ramen which is incredibly flavoursome but thicker and richer than the Ikkyu shoyu ramen thanks to the pork stock mixed with the miso. The toppings differ from the other types of ramen with lots of veggies to enjoy including carrots, corn, onions and cabbage. It was also a tad more salty than the other ramen bowls but the broth was still quite flavoursome and colourful. Plus eating the cha-shu in chopped up pieces made it much easier (and less embarrassing) to eat when you're with your mates or even your date.
Ikkyu (miso) Ramen ($10.50)
The food court is certainly an interesting setting which echoes the likes of Gumshara Ramen at Eating World across the street. It should be interesting to see how the crowds for Ramen Ikkyu will effect the other longstanding stalls in the same food court. I hope that this means more exposure for those shops as well. The prices are cheap for those on a budget with most of the ramen bowls costing at $10.50 with the veggie ramen being the most expensive at $12.50. The bowls will get you full so it's certainly great value for money. Best ramen in Sydney? I wouldn't say yes but it is different to the usual ramen joints. And the staff seemed friendly despite the queues. Even spotted Chef Haru chatting to some of the customers. Will be coming here more regularly for a cheap eat and to try one of the salt-based (shio) ramen bowls as well as the chilli oil ramen. Hopefully, the queues decrease once the hype slows down over time.
Shop F1A Sussex Centre Food Court,
401 Sussex Street, Sydney NSW 2000
(02) 9281 0998