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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Ichi Ban Boshi Town Hall, Sydney

It's the little things that always catch my eye, like the quirky spoons at Ichi Ban Boshi. We join the daily lunchtime throng of city folk, congregating impatiently to pay our respects to large steaming bowls of ramen. On my first visit to Ichi Ban Boshi I had been obsessed with the collagen-rich only-15-bowls-made-per-day tonkotsu ramen. This time I can't stop admiring the cleverly designed soup spoon, a specific cut-out enabling it to rest on the bowl edge, instead of sliding down and drowning in one's soup.

Negi Ramen $9.90 with extra leeks $1.00
Miso ramen with roast pork, leeks and hot chilli sauce

The G-man opts for the negi ramen with extra leeks, a rich miso soup boosted by a cheery boiled egg and a haystack of finely shredded baby leeks.

Chashu ramen $11.50
Ramen topped with Japanese-style roast pork

Mia sticks with perennial favourite chashu ramen, five luscious discs of fat-ribboned pork adorned with scallions, a blob of chilli and a clear soy soup containing chewy tendrils of ramen.

Aburi chashu ramen $11.50
Ramen topped with thick flame-grilled roast pork

I have my eye on the aburi chashu ramen. Three strips of decadent pork belly are meltingly soft, a blow torch searing the surface to a smoky just-charred allure. This is a dish for those not afraid of a little fat, its richness counterbalanced by refreshing morsels of pickled bamboo shoots, a muddle of wilted vegetables, seaweed and finely chopped scallion.

I convince Cho Cho San to choose the aburi chashu ramen on another visit. She pokes at the meat cautiously, lifts a piece to her mouth, chews thoughtfully and then smiles broadly.

It is very rich though, and she's feeling a little queasy by the end.

Cheese Ramen $11.50
Flame-melted cheese mixed with roast pork
on a bowl of shoyu ramen

I, on the other hand, must order the flame-melted cheese and roast pork shoyu ramen. Cheese, meat and noodles? It demands to be ordered.

The cheese is a mild parmesan cheese powder, melted until stringy in parts, swaddling a huddle of roast pork and onions on a seaweed raft. It's a little salty but not as rich and gooey as I'd expected.

It all gets eaten though, and as we push back our chairs I'm already thinking about what to order on my next ramen visit.

View Larger Map

Ichi Ban Boshi (menu)
Town Hall branch, Sydney
Level 2, The Galeries Victoria, 500 George Street, Sydney
Tel: 02 9262 7677
Open Monday to Sunday 11am - 9pm

Bondi Junction branch, Sydney
360 Oxford Street, Bondi Junction
Tel: 02 9369 3980
Monday to Friday 11am-3.30pm, then 5pm-9pm
Saturday to Sunday11am-9.30pm

Southport branch, Gold Coast Queensland
Shop 1 Cecil Hotel Complex, Scarborough Street, South Queensland
Tel: 07 5528 2112
Open Wednesday to Monday 11am-9pm (closed Tuesdays)

Related GrabYourFork posts:
Japanese ramen -- Ajisen Ramen, Haymarket
Japanese ramen -- Ichi Ban Boshi, Sydney (Feb08) and (Aug05)
Japanese ramen -- Menya Japan Noodle Bar, Haymarket
Japanese ramen -- Ramen Kan, Haymarket (Aug 05), (Nov 04)
Japanese ramen -- Ryo's Noodles, Crows Nest (Mar08), (Aug07) and (Jul07)
Japanese ramen -- Tokyo Ramen, Hornsby
Japanese ramen -- Zenya Noodle Bar, Eastwood
11 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 2/13/2008 12:45:00 am


  • At 2/13/2008 9:08 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Wow, Cheese ramen, I've never seen that! :P I suppose Ryo's Miso Bolognaise might fall into the same category? That is, sounds odd but somehow works?

  • At 2/13/2008 11:42 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    lol the smell of the cheese ramen always makes me feel slightly queasy haha i remember that tonkatsu ramen post you described your visit exactly how me and noods feel everytime we go

  • At 2/13/2008 3:15 pm, Blogger Pat said…

    Their tonkatsu ramen isn't bad, but I recommend you check out Takeru on Sussex if you haven't already. Their pork is less chemical-tasting. They also do an interesting line in kooky fusion pizze (not okonomiyaki but soemthing mounted on an almost shortcrust base) - the one with soft rice cakes and mayo is memorably wrong.

  • At 2/13/2008 5:49 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Cheese Ramen..?? boy you are adventurous.. AG.. ;) hahah!!

  • At 2/15/2008 12:25 pm, Blogger Unknown said…

    I like Ichi Ban Boshi, only the queues are so horrific! I recommend the butter corn ramen. and the cold soba with the hot soup (forget what its called)

    Mmmm! So Good.

    Another place to try is Genki Ramen in Artarmon. Their Ramen is good but their curry (katsu or ebi) is the best stuff on the planet!

  • At 2/16/2008 12:06 pm, Blogger Unknown said…

    I dont know where to leave a general comment so im just doing it here. Great site... you obviously get out alot! I notice that you havnt listed the japanese restaurant Yoshii on your review list. Highly recommend it, although a bit pricey ( banquet style), it is some of the best japanese food i have had in Sydney - and ive been to japan twice.Keep on doing what you do well! Cheers

  • At 2/18/2008 1:50 am, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Lorraine E - The Japanese seem to have a strange obsession with cheese :) I'm not sure it appealed as much to my palate as the miso bolognaise but I would certainly encourage everyone to try it just to make sure!

    Hi chocolatesuze - I thought you'd be all gungho for cheese ramen, although I did think it was going to be more like macaroni cheese. And lol, I still think about that first tonkotsu experience everytime I'm anywhere near ICB.

    Hi Pat - I have definitely noticed Takeru and have been meaning to head there for a while. There's also a good looking Thai restaurant, Sussex on Thai, next door.

    Hi Mama Bok - Every day should be a fooding adventure, I say :)

    Hi Eva - Hmm I will have to think about the butter corn ramen for next time. And I do like zaru soba - is that the dish you are referring to?

    I have also had Genki Ramen on the wishlist for ages. That little strip of Japan in front of the station sounds too too cool!

    Hi Claudia - Thanks. I always say I don't eat out a lot, but hmm... maybe I do :) No, I haven't been to Yoshii and yes, it is a little pricey. I have heard good things though :)

  • At 2/19/2008 3:44 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I miss ramen badly. I don't like Genki Ramen, Ichiban Boshi is better. My favorite one is always Ramen Kan. I heard that Ryo is the best ramen in Sydney? So which ramen shop is your favorite Helen?

  • At 2/25/2008 9:16 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Linda - I haven't tried Genki Ramen. My favourite ramen fix would be Ryo's followed by Menya.

  • At 2/28/2008 10:07 am, Blogger Unknown said…

    I noticed those spoons on my last visit as well. Seems like a new addition since your tonkotsu ramen visit in 2005. I don't know when they were invented, but they were a standard all over Japan in 2006. I fell in love with them too and asked a restaurateur if I could buy some from her, but she said that she could only spare one, and gave it to me as a souvenir.

    Love your site by the way. Very well written, photographed and eaten!

  • At 3/02/2008 5:33 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Richard - Lucky you, scoring a free spoon :) Glad you're enjoying the site, and humble thanks for your very kind comments too :)


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