I’m back back back again with another ramen blog, and it feels like an eternity since my last post.
Post lockdown life has resumed and I was heading to see one of my favourite artists (L Devine, stream her album, buy her merch!) on Tuesday at a gig that has been postponed twice. I decided to swing by Ippudo on Villers Street for a quick bowl of noodles beforehand.
My very first foray into the world of restaurant ramen was at an Ippudo in Tokyo, so it always has an air of nostalgia.
I’ve walked past the Villers Street branch a lot (like, a lot) but this was my first time popping inside. It’s a small branch and the menu is limited. There are appetisers, but they’re only available as ‘specials’ not as standard menu items.
One of the things I like most about ramen is the ‘no messing’ approach. We’d been sat only for a few moments before our order had been taken and steaming bowls had been presented to the table.
Nick ordered the Akamaru Modern Special (a classic tonkotsu with garlic and miso) and I plumped for the Hakata Nikuton (tonkotsu with a sweet and spicy pork) which was a location exclusive.
Before tucking in to the noodles I tried the strawberry sake. It was really tasty cloudy-style sake and came out a slightly less lurid colour than the bottle indicated; but made from American rice and American strawberries it felt a little inauthentic! (side note: apparently this sake is good mixed 50:50 with milk…which I’m curious to try!).
My noodle broth was hotter than the surface of the sun. Sadly I scalded my tongue on the very first mouthful. Although that didn’t affect the flavour, it did affect my enjoyment! The broth was rich and had that texture where you’re lips stick together momentarily, even after a good lick! The spicy pork was very thinly sliced, and almost dissolved on your tongue like those mouthwash strips that were popular a few years ago…but less minty.
Nick’s was delivered in what I would call ‘pho style’ with toppings served separately. I quite like that idea.
But here’s his review in his own words:
Now, I also like a good ramen spoon, but my personal preference is for the flat ladle-type spoon rather than the Chinese-style spoon. Different spoons for different folks I guess!
I’ll will 100% be back to Ippudo Villiers Street – it’s fast, it’s convenient and it’s delicious. My only tip, give the boiling liquid a minute to cool down!