Tonkotsu

Why go here:

For Tonkotsu, a style of Japanese with noodles in a broth made from boiling pork bones.

What it looks like:

The restaurant is split over two floors, and is minimally decorated with closely packed tables and bench seating and sashes along the walls.  Since the restaurant takes no reservations and doesn’t have a bar, you will have to just queue by the door which is worsened by the fact the kitchen is right next to the door. So you can smell all the delicious food which gets you starving yet all you can do is wait in the queue and hope that you can potentially get a table in the next hour.

The food:

The menu is short and simple with a focus on ramen noodles. We start off with a plate of gyoza dumplings which had a crispy base and a garlic prawn stuffing. They had a good bite and were quite tasty.

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We moved swiftly onto the ramen noodles. My friend opted for the signature Tonkotsu, with hand-made noodles in a rich, creamy pork stock and thin noodles and topped generously with slices of melt-in-the-mouth pork belly, spring onions and bean sprouts.

I went for the Soho ramen, which was made with smoked haddock, pak choi, and topped with caviar. The broth in this case was clearer. The smoked haddock itself has quite a mild taste which goes surprisingly well with the pork broth but the intense flavor of the caviar definitely overpowers the subtle flavours of the haddock and the bone broth, which was a total shame.

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Additionally, I found the broth in both the dishes to be lacking a bit of kick and had to add a lot of soy and chilli oil to get it to the right level of spice. I found fellow diners doing the same.

Verdict:

Tonkotsu definitely has some exciting variations on the classic ramen.  In my opinion, these are not the most flavourful bowls of ramen on offer in London, yet the noodles are home-made, soft and bouncy and the servings are big and comforting. This is one of London’s oldest ramen joints and if you’ve never tried ramen before, this is one of the best places to give it a shot.

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