There’s been quite a lot of hype over Ippudo recently given they are fairly new to the Melbourne scene. Specialising in ramen, their first shop opened in 1985 in Japan and it has grown and expanded internationally since then. We finally got around to checking it out one cold night and were not surprised when we arrived and saw a decent line of a queue snaking around outside of its entrance. We were however surprised at how efficient they were and how quickly the line moved! We were seated in no time!
The restaurant itself was bright, quite large and spacious which was probably why the line was able to move so quickly. We were seated and provided with some large menus to peruse. We decided to order some starters which included the lightly pickled cucumber with special chilli sauce, crunchy garlic and Sichuan pepper. They weren’t kidding when they said lightly pickled because I couldn’t really taste the pickle in it at all. I guess it made it a more refreshing dish, I did like the crunchy garlic bits though.
We also ordered some fresh sashimi, their signature pork bun, seared salmon sushi roll and the wagyu tataki gohan which had marinated wagyu slices on rice with Japanese mayonnaise and fried garlic chips. This was a great dish! It was so flavoured and the wagyu slices were perfection. Their other starter dishes were also really nice and we couldn’t really fault them.
But of course we were here to try their famous ramen! We had already scouted it out when we walked in and knew it was quite a generous bowl. Given our eyes are larger than our stomachs and we had ordered so many starters, we decided to settle on sharing just one bowl. We ordered their signature Akamaru Shinaji ramen which had their original tonkotsu broth enhanced with special blended miso paste and fragrant garlic oil, served with thin noodles, pork belly, black fungus and spring onions.
The verdict? It was actually pretty good! Of course we couldn’t compare it to all the great ramens we’ve had in Japan. However the broth was nicely flavoured, the noodles were firm and the ingredients were fresh. Would we go back again? Probably if we felt like a decent bowl of ramen with the extra dishes they offer. Their varied starter dishes were a highlight for us. Their service was also fantastic. They were very attentive, quick and efficient. Because there are so many ramen restaurants in Melbourne now, it is becoming more challenging for the good ones to stand out. However with Ippudo it also has its history and huge branding behind it which has helped build its reputation here fairly quickly. We certainly had a pretty good experience, both with the food and the service!
Approx $30 AUD per person
Address: QV Shopping Centre, 18/300 Lonsdale St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Phone: +61 3 9654 9057