Date of Visit: May 25 2013
I received a text late last night from a friend in KL raving about Ippudo Ramen at Pavilion. He suggested that I should go the next time I am in KL. Sure, and I have been too, and this prompted me to do very backdated post on Ippudo which I am doing now!
I’m not a huge fan of chained restaurants. However, with the arrival of Ippuddo at Westfield Sydney last year, that piqued my interest and I thus made it a point to drop by at at all the Ippudo joints worldwide, if I can. This is my 3rd visit to an international Ippudo joint, I have visited Sydney’s a couple of times but never got around to blog about it, so a revisit is due when I’m back in Sydney. My review on my very disheartening visit to their Hong Kong branch is here.
It was a Saturday afternoon at 12:30pm. Contrary to what I have heard, there were no queues. Has the hype died down so quickly? Myself and another got a table and were seated immediately. Service was efficient and friendly – Malaysian hospitality cannot be faulted.
The conformity of colours and use of eating utensils such as bowls and spoons to decorate the restaurant gave a sense of familiarity to the place – like how you know when you are in Macca’s when you see the red and yellows.
We were seated in the naturally-lit bar area with views of the pedestrians at arcade and the bridge. The waitress apologised for seating us at the high chairs, but the high chairs were very comfortable. Looking at the chairs at the dining booths, I envisioned myself with trouble get out of from the low kiddie chairs.
The bar counter looked impressive and well-stocked. It is good to know that Ippudo has an impressive cocktail menu of interesting Japanese drinks. I was interested in the Calpis soda, but reckon I buy Calpis from the Japanese grocers from across the bridge on Level 6 to mix a pitcher up for my afternoon fiesta at home.
Prices of the ramens range from RM26- RM36 which is very expensive for a bowl of ramen. So, I’m not surprised to see people sitting near us sharing their noodles.
Our order arrived relatively quickly.
I can’t recall the name of this ramen my other had but I think this is the most ‘basic’ and cheapest on the menu at RM26. It came with an egg, beansprouts, spring onions and a couple of pieces of chashu (pork belly). “Too salty and the sweetness left an aftertaste”, was the comment I got.
Before I harp on, ramens are basically Chinese wheat noodles. Ramens are supposed to be thin and straight, with the ideal texture to be bitey and not too soft. I prefer mine hard. Tonkotsu is cloudy white coloured pork broth (as opposed to tonkatsu which is fried pork cutlets). Tonkotsu makes a hearty soup since it is boiled from pork and bones for at least 12 hours.
My choice was the spicy tonkotsu ramen and at RM 36, the most expensive. I found the tonkotsu to be very thick and hearty, almost like spicy satay noodles. The broth was also overly tasty for a person with mild tastebuds, so I could not bring myself to drink the soup. What a waste since it has been boiling and simmering away for over 12 hours! On a high note, the pork belly was perfectly done with a good ratio of fat to meat. (Be warned skinny-fat people, this chashu with high fat content is not for you!) I also appreciated the roasted nori sheets which came smelling like…nori?? LOL
I thought that eggs in Ippudo joints or other Japanese ramen shops are usually cut into halves. Perhaps, the newbies at Pavilion are not confident that they can get the timing for the eggs to set just right, so we got a whole egg instead? Even though I don’t fancy biting a whole egg, the orangey runny yolk was flavoursome.
You should gather by now that Ippudo is non-halal joint due to its use of pork and pork lard. The oiliness even removed my ‘industrial-strength’ Illamasqua matt lipstick! (Ladies – in case you are looking for long-wearing highly pigmented lipstick, Illamasqua is the brand I recommend. My favourite colours are Box and Sangers, I got them from Myers in Sydney for AUD25 each. Otherwise, get yours online here)
If you are not tuned into the ‘foodies world’, you are probably in awe wondering what the fuss was on about a bowl of ramen, just like another friend of mine who could queued for an hour with his family when Ippuddo first opened. He couldn’t comprehend why the hype for such an expensive bowl of mediocre noodles. When I quizzed him about it, he couldn’t even remember the name of the ramen place!