For the past year or so, there appears to be a real craze for ramen in London, so restaurants have been opening up all over the place. I haven’t tried very many myself yet, but I am determined to get through them one by one! I’ve done Shoryu Ramen, and now I’ve also tried Ippudo.
Ippudo is actually not as new as many of us may think. It was founded in the very city famous for its ramen: Hakata in Fukuoka, Japan. The restaurant dates back from 1985 and has over 80 chains in Japan. And since then Ippudo has gone global, with restaurants in the America, Malaysia, Australia, Singapore, and many more.
Since the chain opened up in London, it has gained massive popularity very quickly. So my friend and I decided to try it out one evening. The restaurant itself looks absolutely lovely and has a great decor. When you enter, there will more than likely be a queue, but Ippudo are very good at managing this. A person will take your name and number at the front desk, and the, invite you to sit at the bar while you wait for your table. Then when your table is ready, you receive a text on your phone. When your table is ready, you are guided through the restaurant and all the staff welcome you with a very loud いらっしゃいませ (irasshaimase). It almost felt like I was back in Japan.
The menu is quite simple but still has a lot to offer. We ordered a bowl of ramen, tori kara-age and gyoza. The bowls of ramen are huge by the way! If you’re sharing, your waiter will bring you separate bowls.
The food was really good, but also what I found really interesting and enjoyed, was that everyone in that restaurant actually spoke Japanese! From the bar staff to the kitchen staff and waiters. Some were Japanese, but most were not. It was really nice to see them communicating with each other, and also customers in Japanese. It gives a bit of a change, as a lot of Japanese restaurants you visit in London are not always run by Japanese nor have any Japanese staff.
The ambiance, atmosphere and food was great, so I would really recommend you visit if you can!