By now you may or may not have heard that the worldwide famed Ippudo was in the process of opening their second Sydney branch at the newly developed Central Plaza across the street from good ol' UTS. Well the wait is over because this hotly anticipated restaurant will be opening its doors on 2nd October 2014 (WHICH IS TOMORROW YOU GUYS!!!). With branches all over the world, it's no wonder that Ippudo has been going strength to strength in Sydney.
Thanks to Sana from SD Marketing, I was invited to the soft opening of Ippudo Central Park before the official opening. This branch is situated in the dining district at the outdoor courtyard next to the likes of Max Brenners, Coco Cubano, Rib and Burgers, and Autolyse. While the two branches share the same name, that familiar greeting as you stepped inside the premises and the ramen, there's a decent array of entree dishes that are available exclusively to the Central Park branch. This includes the Ippudo Chasu Croquette ($8.00), Tomato Pickles ($8.00), and the Ippudo Fish and Chips ($14.00). Yup you read that right.
House-made Lemon Lime Bitters ($5.00)
Seared Salmon Sushi ($13.00)
We were initially indecisive about what we should get for our entree to share. After much time spent on looking at the menu, we settled on sushi since we were curious on how Ippudo compares to the traditional sushi joints. Gotta say that we were surprised on how much we enjoyed this dish. The temari salmon tasted fresh while the rice had a nice, balanced texture. However, the mentai mayo and avocado added loads of zesty flavour with a slightly creamy texture that actually worked well with the sushi. Wouldn't mind ordering more if I can.
Platter of Additional Ramen Toppings
Since both CC and I ordered a Special version of the ramen of our choice, we received a platter of extra toppings including flavoured egg, simmered pork belly, roasted seaweed, black mushrooms, bamboo shoots and spring onions. I haven't tried the special version at the other branch to see if they also serve the extra toppings separately but I thought this was a good idea so you can decide how much you want to eat with your bowl instead of eating everything inside.
Tori Shoyu Ramen Special ($21.00)
I wasn't feeling too well in terms of the stomach so I went with something a bit lighter that I haven't tried at Ippudo before, which was the Tori Shoyu Ramen Special. This type of ramen uses a chicken broth blended with special bonito extract, served with medium wavy noodles and topped with original chicken chasu, menna, leek and naruto. While the broth was lighter, it was full of flavour from all the ingredients even when I added most of the extras into the bowl. It was also fascinating digging into tender chicken and pork belly pieces in one go as your slurp up the contents. Very generous serving size especially with the additional toppings.
The finished dish with the extra special toppings
Akamaru Special ($24.00)
CC went along with her favourite Ippudo ramen, which was the Akamaru Shinaji (mine too) but decided to go up a notch and order the Akamaru Special. This was basically the Akamaru Shinaji (tonkotsu broth with miso paste and garlic oil with thin noodles, pork belly, black mushrooms and spring onion) with the platter of additional toppings as mentioned previously. Always enjoyed blending the miso paste with the tonkotsu broth just to see the beautiful result.
Both CC and I were very pleased with what Ippudo Central Park has offered. We were even more excited about the new dishes that we could only get at this branch. While the prices are more expensive for the uni students in the area, Ippudo is definitely worth it for the deliciously unique dishes, spaced out and spotless decor and the welcoming and friendly service from the staff. Very keen to go back again to try the Miso Tonkotsu Ramen, the Ippudo Fish and Chips, and the Chasu Croquette on my next visit. With so many restaurants opening around Chippendale these days, it is no surprise that this quiet suburb will become one of the next upcoming food hub spot in Sydney.
Disclaimer: The Random Foodie dined as a guest of Ippudo Sydney Central Park, courtesy of Sana from SD Marketing. Opinions are however, my own.
Ippudo Sydney Central Park
Level 1 RB07, 28 Broadway, Chippendale NSW 2008
(02) 8078 7020
Opening Date: 2nd October 2014