Ichi-ban Boshi, Sydney (20th October 2011)

Jono and I were meant to meet up with Ken and Pip at the Chatswood night market this evening for dinner but ended up in Ichi-ban Boshi instead as Jono was held up at work (didn’t make sense to head all the way to Chatswood at 8pm when the market closes at 9pm). I’ve seen Ichi-ban Boshi on my visit to Kinokuniya Bookstore located on the same floor in Galleries Victoria and Ken had previously mentioned that this place serves good ramen too (why is it that my conversations with Ken always involve food?) – Jono and I didn’t plan on coming here this evening but I felt like Japanese and this was the nearest place Google Maps suggested for Japanese cuisine.

Jono came to meet me at the Market St entrance of QVB and we headed over to Galleries Victoria, taking the elevator to the 2nd floor where Ichi-ban Boshi was located. Wow, the restaurant was pretty much packed and there was a queue outside. I wonder how long it would take for us to get a table...There was no one manning the reception podium so how would the staff know who's turn it was to get a table? On closer inspection, we found that there was a sheet at the podium which customers needed to complete with their name, number of guests and whether or not you were willing to share your table - each row on the sheet is numbered and has boxes next to it for you to complete the required details as well as a corresponding tear-off number for you to hold on to. You must take the number as you will need to hand it over to the staff when your number is called. Ok, let's see...Angelica...2 people...no sharing of table...and rip this number off the sheet. And now we wait...

"80...anyone here with number 80?" called out the Japanese female waitstaff. Nope, not us, we're number 2 (I think they recycle the numbers once it gets to a certain point). After giving it a few more calls, she moved on to the next number. I guess some people put their names down but gave up the wait or went away thinking it would be awhile before their number gets called 
(the wait can be up to half an hour long but we only waited about 15 minutes). You snooze, you lose - person number 1 was a no-show too so we got bumped up the queue and got ourselves a table. Yay!

There isn't much ambience in the restaurant because it is not enclosed within the shop, making it a bit noisy. Waitstaff wearing headsets can be found busily roaming the restaurant floor, taking orders from the tables with PDAs. Jono got himself an iced chocolate and Tokyo Ramen Set while I got an iced lemon tea and the Tantanmen Ramen, both which were served rather quickly after we ordered. The Tokyo Ramen has a shoyu (soy sauce) based soup and came with 3 pieces of gyoza, rice, pickles and salad as part of the set meal. Mmm, the gyoza (Japanese style dumplings that are pan-fried on one side and steamed the other, and often served as a side dish in ramen restaurants) is good...My Tantanmen Ramen with its minced pork, half a boiled egg and choy sum in a hot and spicy soup was rather salty and the ramen somewhat overcooked. Oddly enough, with every helping I took, it left a weird aftertaste that I couldn't quite describe (a salty-bitter mix?). I'm not sure if this particular noodle dish was meant to taste like that. I asked Jono how was his noodles and he said it was ok, though I noticed he didn't polish his bowl, an indication to me that it probably wasn't that yummy (he did however, finish all the gyoza). Or perhaps it was just the fact that the servings here were massive - even I struggled to finish mine. 

Cost us $36 all up for dinner which we had to pay in cash (the restaurant takes cash-only). I'm not sure what the hype is with this restaurant but I'm not fully convinced that they serve the best ramen in town, even if their noodles are made fresh in store. I probably need to have a chat with Ken to find out what was the dish that made him think the ramen here was amazing and come back to try it out, and see if it's any better.

At the entrance of Ichi-ban Boshi waiting for our number to be called

Our iced chocolate and iced lemon tea ($3.30 each)

Tantanmen Ramen ($13) - ramen with minced pork, half a boiled egg
and choy sum in a hot and spicy soup 

Ichi-ban Boshi's most popular ramen, Tokyo Ramen ($9.90)

Ichiban Boshi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


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