Sunday, 22 June 2014

Ichi-ban Boshi - Sydney CBD - Sydney, Australia

Ichi-ban Boshi

Ichi-ban Boshi has been around for quite a while. It's a chain of restaurants with locations in Sydney CBD, Bondi Junction and Southport in Queensland. I can't recall my first time eating there, but what I do remember is it first occurred when I started working in the city. The go to place for our uni lunches was at Menya in Haymarket and till today, it still remains one of my favourite Japanese restaurants. Yet, Ichi-ban Boshi has also been one of  the top places to go to when I'm in need of a quick ramen fix.

The location of Ichi-ban Boshi couldn't get any better. Its in the Sydney CBD, located within 'The Galleries', connecting to Town Hall Station. It's a Japanese restaurant / noodle shop that specialises in ramen, but also offers a range of other authentic Japanese dishes such as donburi, fried noodles and udon. The one thing that I particularly like about this restaurant is their consistency and excellent portions. Service is friendly and efficient, and their food tastes the same regardless of whether you went today or one year later.

Compared to the traditional Japanese restaurant, that can be fairly small in size, Ichi-ban Boshi occupies half a floor, sharing the space with the famous Japanese book store called 'Kinokuniya'. Though there are plenty of tables, it does fill up and get very crowded very quickly. Queues during lunch time can be fairly long as it is popular with shoppers and office workers. I've waited in excess of 30 minutes during weekday peak hour lunch.

There is one dish that I have always wanted to try but have failed time and time again, given the limited quantities that were made each made. That was no other than the signature 'Tonkotsu Ramen'.  I know most Japanese ramen joints serve this but I really wanted to try out their version and what made it so special.

Back in the days, oh how I sound so old, they made 15 bowls per day. But now they have doubled the amount to 30 bowls per day. Given the number of people who dine at this restaurant, that is definitely not a very big number, which I guess, leads to more hype and anticipation from people like myself.

I've asked so many times and the only answer I would get is, "Sorry, we're sold out" or "Sorry, it is not ready". That deprived me of any hopes of ever getting to try a bowl of their 'Tonkotsu Ramen', no matter what time I went during the day. It just wasn't meant to be. So I asked Miss Booklover for her expert advice on this as she has tried it countless times. She said it was best to go around 4pm as she would usually get a bowl that time but I wasn't able to get to go at this odd hour of the day.

On a particular day, we were supposed to go Menya but she said to go and try our luck at Ichi-ban Boshi. I was not very optimistic as I've tried so many times after 5pm to no availability.

You will know it is available when there is a plastic A4 size of paper on your table and to my shock, it was on the table. We asked the waitress to confirm if it was available and it was. Hooray!!! One event ticked off my bucket list. After many years, my wish has come true.

The 'Tonkotsu Ramen ($11.90)' is basically a pork broth that has been simmered for many hours, said to be rich in collagen and good for the skin. It is topped with sesame seeds, shallots, half an egg, roast pork and a sheet of seaweed. See that runny, yolk egg? Just perfect. Once slice of tender and fatty roast pork that melts in your mouth. Oh so yummy. The only negative is the lack of meat but you get compensated with the abundance of noodles. It was also served with a little plate of red ginger which Miss Booklover says she's never got.

I also got a side of 'Beansprouts ($2.00)' to go with the ramen as I like that added crunch.

The thin egg noodles went very well with the tonkotsu stock. It was springy and had a nice bite to it. Great for slurping up with the delicious soup. These noodles aren't served with their normal ramen dishes.

The soup was decent and packed a whole lot of flavour. The rich broth wasn't thick like Gumshara's but it was thicker in consistency, say compared to a soy-based broth. Do eat it quickly, as a layer does form at the top as it starts to cool down. To me it was a good ramen and was it worth the wait you ask? Well, to be honest, I still prefer the Tonkatsu at Menya and I wouldn't go out of the way just for this but I'm thankful to have been able to try it.

On a previous visit to Ichi-ban Boshi, we also had some other dishes.

The 'Miso Ramen ($9.90)' uses a thick egg noodle in a miso based broth with roast pork, bamboo shoots, corn, beansprouts and shallots. The miso flavour is quite strong and you can taste it.

The 'Karaage Ramen ($13.00)' is one of my favourites. A thick egg noodle in a soy based broth with crispy deep fried chicken pieces. The chicken was requested to be separate from the noodles as it does get soft and soggy very quickly. The chicken pieces were wonderfully marinated and fried to a golden crunch.

A drink I like to order here is the 'Iced Cappuccino ($4.80)'. A bit on the pricey end, but I like the frothy top and sugar syrup on the side.

A great place for those looking for decent Japanese food at affordable prices Not only that, the food is tasty and place is clean. It's not the best out there but this casual restaurant serves simple Japanese fare with minimal fuss which keeps bringing people back. I do recommend going to their branch in Sydney CBD. They have a Ichi-ban Express located at the lower grounds of The Galleries but to me, it doesn't exactly taste the same as what is offered upstairs.

Level 2, The Galleries,
580 George St
Sydney NSW 2000

Phone no: 02 9262 7677

Opening Hours
Open 7 Days a Week
11:00am - 9:00pm


Ichi-ban Boshi on Urbanspoon


  1. hehe i remember always being so devastated when told that the tonkotsu ramen wasnt available too! glad you finally got to try it!

    1. Happy I finally managed to try it too :)

  2. I remember it took me a few visits to finally get the tonkotsu! And I like that you asked for the karaage on the side - I agree. Soggy fried food is such a tragedy!

    1. Oh yes! Soggy fried chicken is not good.