Unless you live and work under a rock in darkest Kensington, it’s unlikely you’ll have missed the row of fancy-looking eateries along the ground floor of Crossrail Place.
One of which, Ippudo, sets itself against a classy black mirrored backdrop – tiles, low lighting and an open-plan kitchen present a simple yet elegant take on the restaurant/cocktail bar hybrid.
So what was for starters? This being a Japanese restaurant, it would be contrary of me to not try their take on Tofu, of which I am not a huge fan. All other forms I had previously were cooked, and resembled the texture of overdone omelette.
Unfortunately this starter did nothing for beancurd’s public relations, as uncooked white cuboids of the stuff fell apart in my chopsticks, leaving me to robotically scoop miniature specks of white liquid into my mouth. As pleasant as it was, eating liquid with sticks felt like my life was becoming some lesson laden fable.
Or was it? Being a big fan of Ramen, I chose the karaka spicy men for my main, which came complete with a huge ladel-like utensil for soup soakage.
“This is more my kind of thing – a big spoon,” my dining companion so succinctly put it.
I wasn’t disappointed. The pork belly offset the vegetable noodles wonderfully, with a warming heat to the broth that didn’t scold the taste buds. That’s the thing with Ramen – it’s effectively two meals in one huge bowl. What’s not to like?
Having gone for traditional starter and main, I chose to live a little and go Heston with my dessert. Do sweet potato and vanilla ice cream go together? Short answer: yes. Try it.
There’s little variety on the menu, but there doesn’t really need to be. Ippudo do it simple. And they do it well.