And the ramen saga continues.
When word got out that Ippudo was opening in London, I was pretty excited. A well known ramen chain from Japan, this was their first opening in Europe, cleverly timed at the peak of ramen popularity in the city.
When S and I first attempted to go on one Wednesday evening, we were told there would be a 2 hour wait. We were headed to the cinema afterwards, so that wasn't exactly an option! We went back for lunch shortly after, and got in with no queue.
It still feels funny to me to have a ramen restaurant look so swanky and trendy, but I don't mind it! I liked the casual but modern feel of the interiors, and the staff were very nice and friendly.
We both went for the lunch set option, which includes a bowl of noodles and a mini portion of a rice dish - S chose the unagi (eel) and I had the curry. Although it was a bit too much food for me that day, it's a good option for those hungry, carb-loading days!
So, here's my verdict: the ramen was good, but not great. The flavour was nice, the broth was rich and it was all okay, but my number one downfall with Ippudo was how overcooked their noodles were. Unlike Kanada-Ya or Shoryu, they don't give you the option of how well cooked you want your noodles, but that shouldn't be a problem if they cooked them "normally", a nice middle ground. I don't know if I'm being super picky, but I just wasn't all that impressed. I do have very high standards when it comes to one of my favourite foods, so don't let me put you off - try it for yourself.
I've heard mixed reviews from other people too, but I'm hoping that as they were still relatively new when I went, things will settle down and get better - I wouldn't be opposed to giving them another shot in a few months!
The thing is, Kanada-Ya is right opposite Ippudo, and is about a twentieth of the size of Ippudo. Meaning, if you have a ramen craving and the queue for Kanada-Ya is hours long (which it often is), it might be worth trying Ippudo instead.
I could definitely do with a bowl right now...