Shop 210, Silvercord Shopping Centre, 30 Canton Road, TST
Tel: 2957 8893
Cuisine: Japanese, specialising in ramen
Price: about HK$100 without drinks and the service charge.
Ambience: we'd been warned about long lines here, so arrived 15 minutes before the 11.30am opening, and were first in the queue. By the time the place opened, we'd been joined by about a dozen others, and when we left an hour or so later, there was a short line. Because there were three of us, we were given a comfortable booth; all the other seating is communal along long wooden tables and counters. Service is efficient.
Pros: the noodles and choice of three broths, all of which are tonkotsu (pork bone) based.
Cons: the crispy chicken (HK$38) came with a choice of sweet or spicy sauce; we chose spicy, which was still too sweet.
Recommended dishes: the pork bun (HK$28) - barbecued pork belly with lettuce and Japanese mayonnaise between steamed bread, then sliced into two pieces - was so good we wished it could be offered in our office canteen. The house-made gyoza (pan-fried dumplings, HK$38) had a moist, light filling. For ramen, we started with the shiromaru motoaji (HK$68), the lightest of the three broths. I've been looking for a broth that would make me want to finish the whole bowl, and found it in this: although intensely flavoured, it wasn't that fatty. The noodles, cooked to 'hard' (you can request the level of softness), were springy and resilient. The next broth, akamaru shinaji (HK$68), was topped with a small blob of red miso, and had small fat globules floating on the surface that made the taste much richer and heavier. This ran a close second to the shiromaru broth, but my guests preferred the Ippudo karaka (HK$78), which came with a ladleful of rich miso and pork 'ragu'. All three bowls came with the usual sliced pork; the shiromaru's was leanest, although it was still moist and well-flavoured.
What else? The Ippudo chain, which got its start in Fukuoka, was founded by 'ramen king' Shigemi Kawahara, who was TV Tokyo's champion ramen chef from 1995 to 1998.