The gyoza are nothing to write home about, being of the deep-fried variety which I wish would be advertised explicitly on menus so that I could avoid ordering them as I’m a pan-fried purist. However the soft-shell crab salad proves to be excellent value – for $14 you are rewarded with two crabs which are a little on the heavily-battered side, but thankfully aren’t greasy. A mound of mixed greens and tomato wedges underneath help to make the dish a meal in its own right but the carrot threads, also seen later, are a little unnecessary.
Ordering the tonkatsu bento is just an excuse to try their deep-fried, crumbed pork cutlet. The included miso soup is a second-rated act along with the sushi and sashimi, which are the only components to actually be presented in a compartmented box. The sushi and sashimi are disappointing with the tuna being grainy and the rice being a little dry. The star of the show is the juicy piece of pork flanked by salad and heart-shaped rice where the pork manages to stay crunchy down to the last bite.
The ‘Tokyo tonkotsu ramen’ definitely doesn’t have the thick and sticky soup of some places, but at least bears the cloudy appearance of a pork bone soup. Plus, Ichimaru is one of the few places where you can actually get ramen in Chatswood should you be requiring a fix.
The husband, despite being full, can’t pass up the opportunity of dessert when he hears mention of there being tempura ice-cream. His selection of chocolate is revealed as chocolate ice-cream encased in a layer of chocolate sponge before being deep-fried in a thin coating of tempura batter; its crenellations giving rise to the appearance of the rippled surface of a brain. Mmmm, deep-fried brains...
226 Victoria Ave (btwn Robinson & Olga St), Chatswood NSW
Tel: (02) 9411 2256
Opening Hours: Mon CLOSED
Tues-Sun 11:30am-2:30pm (lunch)