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It’s the Anzac Day long (3 day) weekend where I come from in Western Australia. What better way to spend a long weekend than to head over east to Sydney for some noms?
But first, just what is Anzac Day? It’s a day of remembrance for Australians and New Zealanders to honour those who served and died in wars and other conflicts. It is observed on April 25th each year, the day the Australia and New Zealand Army Corps landed at Gallipoli during World War I. This year marks the centenary of that day, so you can be sure there were some grand ceremonies and parades planned. In fact, we had trouble crossing the street to get to our hotel as the parade was in full swing right by our front door heading down George St when we arrived!
By the time we’d checked in and freshened up in our room at the Hilton, it was just after 1pm, the procession had passed and the shops were just starting to open for business. Time for us to get some lunch!
As we weren’t feeling particularly energetic after a 5.45am flight, we decided to grab a bite nearby. Luckily, the Hilton is perfectly placed just across the road from the Queen Victoria Building and a short stroll from Westfield. There would be no shortage of shopping and dining options for us.
A friend had suggested we try Ippudo, so this is where we headed. It is located not far from the main food court on the 5th floor of the Westfield building. To get there, we entered via Myer and took the escalator up to the 1st floor of Myer, where we then exited to cross the walkway linking Myer with the remaining Westfield stores. Curiously, this brought us to the 4th floor of Westfield, so we only had to take one more escalator to bring us up to the food court.
After walking around the entire main food court, we spied our destination to one side, not far from Din Tai Fung. Having some knowledge of Japanese, it was partly because of this sign that I knew we had found the right spot.
That, together with the cries of “irrashaimase” echoing from the main dining area, the long tables of shared seating and the small condiments trays placed in the middle of these tables, exactly like the ones I’d seen in Tokyo, made me feel as though I was back in Japan.
But this is Australia, where land is plentiful. There was significantly more space in the dining area compared to the eateries I’d visited in Tokyo. I also approved of the modern styling of the space in wood, red, black and white tones.
We ordered a trio of buns ($13) to start. They have 3 different fillings, so although my friend had specifically told us to sample the pork bun, we decided to order one of each. I’m glad we did, as, tasty as the pork bun was, I found the meat to be too fatty for my liking. Furthermore, there was virtually no textural contrast between the soft pork meat and the equally soft and pillowy mantou bun in which it sat. The chicken version fared slightly better in terms of texture, the chicken having slightly more give and a slice of lettuce to add some crunch and freshness. My favourite bun, though, was without a doubt the shrimp bun. Perfectly crisp deep fried shrimp in a melt-in-your-mouth soft mantou bun, finished with a slightly sweet and slightly tangy cream sauce. I could have eaten a plate of 3 all by myself!
Instead, we decided to try a different type of ramen each. It’s too difficult to summarise the options available, so here’s the menu from their website instead.
My friend chose the akamaru shinaji ($16) while I went for the tori shoyu special ($23). It’s a good thing we only ordered one special, as the extra toppings actually come separately and there’s enough to share between 2.
Here, you’ll find that faultless Japanese combination of politeness and efficiency. There was a large group ahead of us in the queue and only a spot for 2 when we arrived, so the staff seated us promptly ahead of the group. Menus were brought to us quickly, yet they gave us an appropriate length of time to peruse it. Our food came out fast and all together, which is why I ended up taking only 1 photo of my ramen with the buns in the background.
Great! Like I said above, spacious and modern.
We thought the buns were very reasonably priced but the ramen was a little on the costly side.
Mondays and Tuesdays 11am-10pm
I can’t explain it better than them so why try? This is also from their website.
I think I’m now spoilt from my trip to Tokyo. The tori shoyu ramen just could not hold a candle to what I’d eaten there earlier this year, though the akamaru shinaji did come close to the complexity of flavours that I have now come to expect. However, I would gladly return for another serve of shrimp buns. No sharing this time!
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