It seems like every man, celebrity chef, blogger and their dog have been to Ramen Ikkyu despite having been open for just a couple of weeks. So I did what any sane keen ramen eating blogger would do – I dragged my whole family, including my pregnant cousin to the other side of Sydney to a busy food court to try this place for myself.
I was a bit worried that since Harunobu Inukai, the former chef of the French-Japanese fusion restaurant Blancharu in Elizabeth Bay now turned ramen chef, only made 150 bowls a day. I couldn’t think of anything more sad than if I dragged everyone out to the other side of town and there was only one bowl left and they had to watch me enjoy it.
It seemed like an easy system, there were 8 ramen types to choose from and a cute little easy to use touch screen system. Well that’s what I thought until I realised I could only eat 1/8th of the menu (1/4 at the most). Decisions… Decisions…
Chili oil ramen ($11.50).
Ikkyu (miso) ramen ($10.50).
Tokyo (shoyu) ($10.50). It was the special of the day which really swayed my decision. I didn’t think much of the broth, I mean it was better than anything than we have in Canberra but Sydney has so many other establishments that offer a much superior soup base in flavour and in ‘richness’. The pork was very delicious though, with a high fat ratio layered between the meat and the noodles had a great texture, but I find that all three things- broth, noodles and pork need to come together to make a ramen experience absolutely fantastic and magical.
Cha-shu 3 slices ($3.00), shallots($0.50) and sweet corn($0.50).
The bowl of ramen itself would have been very affordable and considered cheap but I just had to indulge and see what their $14 pork rib was all about. As it sat there on the tray while I waited for my noodles to arrive, all the other patrons would point and ask what that delicious piece of meat on the bone was. All I could think was ‘don’t get grubby fingers too close to my pork’.
A bit dry in areas but that is expected due to the size and the thickness. Not as great as other ramen places but great to nibble on to get some extra pork to your bowl. Maybe share between two people?
What makes this a unique dining experience is the free extra kaedama that you get with each bowl of ramen so that if you gobble up all the noodles before you finish the broth, there is a round #2.
I don’t think Ramen Ikkyu lived up to all the hype. I see bloggers and instagrammers posting photos of queues and noodles but I would much rather walk down the street and grab a bowl from Gum Shara. If I get the chance I would come back in a few months to see if anything changes.
Venue: Ramen Ikkyu
Address: Shop F1A, Sussex Centre food court, 401 Sussex Street, Haymarket, NSW
Phone: (02) 9281 0998
Opening hours: Seven days, noon-8pm until sold out (150 bowls a day)