There’s been a lot of fanfare in the foodie world over the newest ramen bar on the block – Ramen Ikkyu, tucked away in a corner of the Sussex Centre Food Court. It is run by the ex-head chef of Blancharu (a French-Japanese fusion restaurant in Elizabeth Bay) and when I heard that he had opened up a ramen bar in Chinatown, I was dying to try it out because I’d heard rave reviews about the ramen at Blancharu. I was a bit worried because I had also heard that the chef’s business plan is to only produce 150 bowls of ramen every day and to close up the store when they have all been sold – but luckily on the night we decided to drop by, they hadn’t sold out yet by 8.30pm and we were able to sneak in a late ramen dinner.
They have an iPad ordering system mounted in front of the registers and it’s a pretty easy choice for me – straight to the Ikkyu miso ramen. There’s an educational sign next to the registers which lets you know that the signature soup at Ramen Ikkyu is the Paitan Soup, made from lightly blanched chicken bones that have been boiled for several hours with pork. When the steaming bowl of ramen is brought out to us, it’s clear that they take their broth seriously because it is thick with all that chicken and pork essence infused into it from that boiling process!
Ikkyu miso ramen, $10.50
I get some minced garlic from the generous side condiments station, but the ramen is so flavoursome on its own that it doesn’t even need the extra seasoning. The miso has made the broth even thicker and the consistency is almost as thick as Gumshara’s famed soup, but easier to drink thankfully. The handmade noodles are wonderfully springy and there’s plenty of thick slices of fatty pork cha shu in the ramen to keep things interesting. I also enjoyed the soft-cooked egg (even though I’m not a fan of boiled eggs generally) and while there were no bamboo shoots in my ramen, DK gave me some from his Ikkyu Shio ramen which were distinctly sweet and fresh, very different from the usual dried bamboo shoots we’re used to having in other ramens. After awhile the thick miso broth does get a bit too salty for my liking, so be sure to get a drink to help you get through the ramen.
I found it refreshing to see on the receipt and the educational sign next to the registers that Ramen Ikkyu do free “kaedama” which is a refill of noodles per ramen, as long as you still have soup left. A lot of ramen places in Sydney will charge you $2+ for a refill of noodles, which is a bit annoying because we’ve all had that dilemma where we’ve munched through all the noodles but have plenty of soup left to drink and don’t know what to do with it…so good on Ramen Ikkyu for helping us solve that problem! Even though the Sussex Centre Food Court is nothing flash, I can see why foodies have been flocking to Ramen Ikkyu lately – they take their ramen seriously here and are keen to make sure their customers enjoy their ramen experience with all the little freebies that come with each ramen.
Shop F1A, 401 Sussex St, Haymarket
Ph:(02) 9281 0998