If you're a hardcore fan of the beloved sitcom "Friends", the word "ichiban" means nothing else, but this.
Anyway, this Ichiban is nothing related to Joey, Friends or lipstick.
Not to sound like a complete and utter killjoy, but, within the past couple of years, we have witnessed food courts in Colombo fall into the depths of mediocre, not so hygienic food at prices that are high enough to get your mind whizzing. And somehow, almost every food court in Colombo has the same set of places serving the same set of Set Menus, sandwiches and saucy fried rice combos which, let's be honest, we're all pretty bored with.
Ichiban joined the bandwagon a while back amidst heaps of quizzical looks and people wondering how a Japanese restaurant ended up in a corner of the Crescat Food Court.
Ichiban doesn't necessarily do a whole heap of different forms of Japanese dishes for you to absolutely feast on. And while they are cheaper than other Japanese restaurants in Colombo, they can't necessarily be considered as a budget stop to get your Japanese fix either.
However, what they do is maybe 12-15 dishes that all circle around being either with Udon Noodles or Teriyaki and from what we gathered, they're not too shabby at it.
I love soupy noodles, maybe even a bit more than regular noodles. And given how most Japanese restaurants cater to this strange attraction, we had to, had to get this. And once again, I was not disappointed.
The Beef n Udon Noodles (Rs. 680) came as a steamy bowl of wiggly noodles topped with an assembly of seaweed, beef, leeks and a strange rice cracker kinda thing that we're not too sure about.
While the noodles themselves were a tad on the tougher side of things, the broth was a super light symphony of flavours that we thought was lovely. Essentially soy sauce boiled with beef, the broth was slightly oily and had strong kicks of beef coming through even after we had finished the bit of beef they serve with it.
Combined with that zing coming from the leeks, the saltiness of the seaweed and the rice crackers, we loved it. If what you're looking for is a steamy bowl of comfort food, we say go with this.
Sweet with the egg mix powering through pretty strongly, the Oyako Don, too was quite nice. The sharpness of the ginger and the scallions combined with the creamy egg and chicken added up to be a tangle of flavours that was subtle but pretty enjoyable nonetheless. However, if you don't like the taste of semi-cooked egg, you might want to get something else because the egg can hit stronger than you'd imagine.
Ichiban is a welcome addition to the food court scene in Colombo. It's affordable, delicious, filling and quite value for money too.