Queues are almost always a good sign. People don't bother lining up for food that is ordinary. At Ichi Ban Boshi there is almost always a queue. But you never have to wait that long. Diners tend to eat their noodles as if they were Japanese salarymen in a hurry to catch the next Shinkansen train.
Located on the top floor of Galeries Victoria, opposite Kinokuniya bookstore, Ichi Ban Boshi is primarily known for its ramen noodles, and their take on the Japanese favourite puts them in the top tier of noodle joints in the city.
Tokyo ramen remains the most popular variety and consists of hand-made noodles, slices of pork, corn and other toppings set in a soy broth. It's delicious and the broth, while flavoursome and complex, lacks the saltiness that seems to pervade ramen at other establishments.
Tonkotsu ramen is another reason people flock to Ichi Ban Boshi and the fifteen bowls per-day policy is sometimes very quickly exhausted. They begin serving it at 2:00pm - so be on the ball if that's what you want. The pork broth is rich and delicious and the noodles are cooked to perfection. Ichi Ban Boshi's tonkotsu ramen rates as one of the finest in the city, with many considering it second only to the product dished out at Gumshara Ramen in Chinatown.
Besides the endless types of ramen, starters like gyoza and edamame are comforting and prove perennially popular. The range of udon and soba noodle dishes are also well-worth a look, as are the rice dishes. Refreshments come in the form of Japanese soft drinks, Asahi and Sapporo beer and any beverage possible that can include green tea.
Ichi Ban Boshi also has a Bondi Junction branch. Whilst still busy, the Bondi shop almost always has a table free, and its prices are slightly lower, but it's not licensed and there's no table service.
Whichever branch you pick, Ichi Ban Boshi should definitely be on your radar if you enjoy Japanese food. And doubly so at this time of year when a steaming bowl of ramen is the perfect way to stare down a cold night.