Taking the family out to eat can be enough to stress any mum out! Between clumsy kids, toddler tantrums, and fussy eaters, it’s enough to make you want to stay home. But mums, it’s time to stop missing out on delicious meals (made lovingly by someone else!). We stopped by the famous Ippudo Restaurant to try the world-class, special-recipe ramen – where kids are welcome.
Dining out can be so hard when you have kids in tow. Maybe the food options aren’t right for your fussy eaters or you’re worrying about how to prevent the inadvertent spills and messes. Perhaps you fear other patrons might object to the constant, loud chatter or bedtimes are looming so you are wolfing your food down instead of enjoying it. With all these concerns, it’s no wonder so many of us stay home instead of dining out!
Inside Ippudo Restaurant
Well, there’s no need to miss out on a fine meal any longer! Ippudo in District Dining, Chatswood is a true family-friendly experience, as I discovered when I visited with my husband and our two young kids. They were so welcoming of our family including our kids, and cheerfully catered to us (including wanting two kid’s menus…each!).
Founded by “Ramen King” Shigemi Kawahara, Ippudo’s restaurants operate on a unique but simple philosophy: ‘To constantly change so as to never change”. This thinking creates a restaurant that’s always wanting to improve and be customer-centric, which shows in the service and attention to detail.
Inside Ippudo, you are a world away from the hustle and bustle of Chatswood. You step into a tasteful world decorated in subtle but rich red and black tones, accented by wooden elements. The dining room is warm and welcoming, with perfectly arranged furniture and is extra spacious, which is great for pram parking and sprawling families. It immediately makes your mind relax and say ‘Ahhh!’. The feel is simplistic, yet sophisticated. The open kitchen adds a natural atmosphere with the warm clamour of chefs preparing each delicious meal, which helps whet the appetite.
The menu: What’s on offer
Ippudo is a certified worldwide phenomenon, and there’s a good reason for its cult following. They describe their most famous meal (ramen), as using an original creamy tonkotsu broth, signature secret dashi, umami-dama (
Knowing so much about their ramen, when we visited, the range of the menu surprised us – there’s so much more than just the world famous, carefully handcrafted dishes we knew to expect. Perhaps the two most famous are the Shiromaru Classic – the original tonkotsu broth served with thin noodles, pork loin, bean sprouts, black mushroom and shallots. Then the Akamaru Modern is a “bold” translation of the original pork broth, thin noodles topped with Ippudo’s secret “Umami Dama” miso paste, pork belly chashu, cabbage and sesame kikurage mushrooms, and more. In addition, there are sides you can add to your ramen to make it even richer, like boiled eggs, flavored mushrooms or bamboo shoots, seaweed and more. And of course, Ippudo caters to vegetarians with their own special ramen options.
Besides these famed classic dishes, there’s entrees, a range of out-of-the-box satisfying salads, and rice dishes. To finish, there’s delicious desserts (we tried the green tea ice cream, $4!). There is also a special weekday lunch time menu which includes an additional side/starter to choose from.
What we tried
We started out with a five-piece gyoza dish ($6), which was a cracking start! The tender pork meat was wrapped in a dumpling and served with a Japanese citrus chilli paste, plus a pork bun ($5) which was pillowy-soft with a ‘melt in your mouth’ surprise inside.
The sizzling teriyaki chicken with crisp vegetables and the Aburi Salmon Roll, were next- perfectly seared salmon rolled into bite sized pieces with a mouth-watering spicy cod roe mayonnaise. Tempted yet?
The kids got served a five-course meal on a plate! Literally. They sampled everything from Japanese omelette, edamame, shoestring fries, rice along with Karaage chicken and prawn Katsu accompanied by orange juice. And they absolutely wolfed it down! The flavours were perfect for them and they demolished every morsel.
Then came the main event: the world-famous ramen. We chose the seasonal specialty ramen Ippudo Kuro and the original classic dish Karaka men ($16) with its creamy tonkotsu broth, signature secret dashi, thin-wavy noodles, special spicy minced pork miso, pork belly chashu, bean sprouts, spring onions, and roasted cashew garnish.
The flavour, intensity and depth of the broth (and the contrast in their flavours) really appealed to each one of our senses. While mine was a pepper, garlic-based broth with the perfect mix of the other meat and vegetable elements, my husband’s was a creamier yet intensely flavoured broth. The portions are generous and if you are a moderate eater I’d suggest going easy on entrees so you have enough space!
The food is outstanding, but equally stellar is the attention to detail, friendliness and smiles from the waitstaff at Ippudo. Our server took time to explain the menu and happily chatted away to the kids about what they liked. We were also asked how we wished dishes to be prepared and what order we would like them served. These are all signs that the brand stands close to its promise that “every steaming bowl is an arigato– a thank you”.
Overall, this was a worthwhile and delightful experience where our senses were truly indulged. We enjoyed perfectly presented meals that were incredibly delicious and had so much thought put into them, in a relaxed and stress-free environment- what a win! My husband has recently visited Japan and said this was closest tasting ramen he’s had besides in Japan, and the tiny humans in our family (who are also our biggest food critics) said, “please can we go back for some more edamame and prawn katsu!”
The essential details
- Address: Restaurant 77A, The District Podium level, Chatswood Interchange, 436 Victoria Avenue, Chatswood
- Phone: 02 8084 0704
- Website: Ippudo
Disclaimer: Our reviewer was provided with a free meal for her family in return for her honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are her own and not influenced by the company or its affiliates in any way.
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