If you’d ask the KL-ites for their favorite ramen place, Ippudo would more often than not make it to the to-eat list. Did it live up to its standards though?
Read about my previous Ippudo review Here.
I was invited to Ippudo Bangsar’s media launch late last Friday. For those unfamiliar with Ippudo, it is essentially a Japanese restaurant that specializes in Ramen Dining, which seemingly caters to the higher-end niche market, with outlets at BSC, Pavilion and The Gardens Mall respectively.
Here – the ramen dining experience is unique.
The upscale Bangsar outlet presents its maiden outdoor dining concept with a full range of Ippudo cocktails, whisky, sake and wine. Apart from that, the BSC menu features 15 new appetizers and light snacks, specially crafted for the Bangsar urbanites.
The esteemed founder cum owner, Shigemi Kawahara-san aka The Ramen King was also present that day, to officiate the launch as well as to cook for us.
The Sake Barrel Breaking is a traditional norm in most Japanese launches. It is meant to bring good fortune. Guess what’s inside?
A steady stream of sake, champagne and cocktails ensued whilst we anxiously waited for dinner to be served. While sipping on sparkling water – yes, you read right – sparkling water, I glanced around the restaurant and noticed busy runners serving a houseful of media representatives as well as local celebrities alike. In light of that, the soft launch of Ippudo Bangsar was running on full blast.
Apart from the never ending flow of drinks, bite sized servings of Japanese appetizers were carried from table to table. I’m sure it takes loads of balancing skills not to let these dainty tidbits slide off the slippery metal trays. I’d probably last 10 steps.
While bite sized nibbles will never be able to satiate my hunger, there were also a Japanese buffet lineup prepared. The salmon mentaiko sushi was amazing; the unagi was stupendous. If it weren’t for my ambitious attempt to reserve tummy space for the much anticipated ramen, I would’ve definitely refilled rounds of these.
Now that I’ve talked about most part of the event, I’m saving the best for the last. The highlight of my meal would have to be their signature tonkatsu broth ramen. And I was there to sample four of their recommended ramen dishes that night.
Akamaru Shinaji. Rm28.
For first timers, I would definitely recommend Ippudo’s original ramen. Special blended miso paste enhanced with fragrant garlic oil and served with thin noodles, pork belly, kikurage and spring onions. Tonkatsu broth is meant to be savory and richer compared to the conventional soup base, but I was glad that this combination blends well.
Shiromaru Motoaji. Rm26.
This is the slightly milder version of the former ramen dish, or what they call – the classic Hakata style. I would normally prefer the lighter versions, but somehow or rather, my taste buds were screaming for the richer and heartier ones that night.
For those who enjoy a bit more spice to their ramen dish, Karakamen will meet just that. Imagine curry flavored soup – its broth is enhanced with a special spicy sauce and served with the usual condiments.
Ippudo Kuro was the much talked about new addition, only made available at the Bangsar branch.
Though I only had this towards the end, the distinct flavors of the broth still managed to tickle my taste buds. Thick chewy noodles served in tonkotsu broth, topped with BBQ pork, flavored black fungus, garlic, spring onions, spicy blended Miso paste. Easily my pick of the night.
Overall Rating: 6.5/10. If I had to choose according to order of preference, it would have to be – Ippudo Kuro, Akamaru Shinaji, Karakamen and Shiromaru Motoaji. Now back to my initial question, did it live up to its standards? Ippudo has its niche market but comparing against some of the other re-known ramen contenders outside, I thought Ippudo was rather middle-aimed to me. Don’t get me wrong, its good – but still not the best.
Address: Bangsar Shopping Centre, 285, Jalan Maarof, Bukit Bandaraya, 59000 Kuala Lumpur
Facing the main road come entrance. Located in between of WIP and La Bodega.
Food Blog by: Spicy Sharon