Ramo Ramen

This ramen restaurant is famous for its award winning oxtail kare kare ramen. Until recently they only had a branch in Kentish Town in North London, but they’ve now opened a second branch on Brewer Street in Soho. A much easier option for me. I was passing and meeting a friend for drinks later so went for an early dinner. I was the only customer in there at the time, though a few other customers came in while I was eating. The ramen was relatively quick to come and looked interesting. The broth was sadly a bit cold, definitely more lukewarm than hot. Ramen should always really be served very hot and eaten immediately for maximum noodle slurpage, so this was disappointing. The noodles were the standard shop bought in type and on the slightly too soft side. The egg was starting to get hard and was slightly broken. Personally if I was the chef I wouldn’t of served it. However the highlight was the oxtail which was really good, definitely the star of the show. This has the makings of a pretty decent ramen, unfortunately on the day I visited standards had very much slipped.

Oxtail kare kare ramen
Oxtail kare kare ramen

Nanban Brixton

Nanban is the ramen restaurant from former Masterchef UK 2011 champion Tim Anderson. When it comes to ramen he really knows his stuff having lived for a time in Fukuoka aka the Japanese home of ramen. I’d been wanting to check out his place for a while, so as soon as lockdown restrictions on restaurant lifted I headed straight down to Brixton. I went for the Lazy goat ragù-men ramen. This is one of Nanban’s signature dishes and is inspired by Brixton’s West Indian history and culture. Several years ago now it won the Evening Standard dish of the year, so I was keen to try it out and my expectations were high. The ramen consists of slow-cooked boneless goat leg and noodles in a spicy Indo-Caribbean curry sauce, topped with seafood sawdust, fried shallots, scotch bonnet bamboo shoots and a tea pickled egg. An innovate twist on the traditional ramen, but it worked. The goat was beautifully tender and tasty. It sat in what was definitely more of a sauce than a broth and had a good spicy heat to it, without being blow your head off hot.

Menya Ramen House

This small ramen house is tucked away on Museum street, just around the corner form the British Museum in Bloomsbury. Its unique offering is ramen with a fiery Korean twist. Additionally here you can choose both the texture of your noodle and the spice of your ramen broth. I chose their signature ramen, the seafood. Unfortunately they had no crab that day, but they promised to give me extra seafood to make up for that. I went for the medium hard noodles with their normal spice broth. It wasn’t the prettiest bowl of ramen, most of the seafood had sunk below the broth, but it made up for it in taste. They boil the broth here for 48 hours and that definitely showed as the broth was excellent. The seafood was nice but I think the crab would have really added to the overall flavour and because it was sat in the hot broth had slightly overcooked. I enjoyed it, but I think next time I’d go for the classic tonkotsu ramen with the chau shu pork, as the seafood ramen was pricey and the best bit of the dish was definitely the broth rather than the expensive seafood.

 

 

Bone Daddies

A New York inspired ramen shop, of all the London ramen restaurants this is probably the coolest/ trendiest. This is also not my first visit and like Tonkotsu this is now a chain of ramen shops all over London. Today to mix it up a bit I had the yuzu tonkotsu. A twist on the original by adding citrusy yuzu juice to the classic pork broth. It was interesting, but for me not as good as the original classic tonkotsu. Bone Daddies ramen is good, the meat and all the accompaniment are all great, but for me the broth is a little lacking and sadly just not quite as good as the broth at my favourite Tonkotsu. So given the choice I’d always choose them over Bone Daddies. However maybe if you’re going out for dinner with friends and wanted a bit more of a lively venue this is a good choice, and although not my favourite ramen spot it’s definitely up there. As well as Bone Daddies the restaurant group behind it also has the equally excellent Flesh and Buns of which I’m also a big fan.

Tonkotsu Soho

I absolutely adore ramen. It’s one of my favourite things in the world to eat. It’s so delicious and comforting, even thinking about it now I’m salivating. I get proper cravings for it. If you’ve got a cold or feeling a bit under the weather there’s honestly very little better than a hot steaming bowl of ramen. There’s now handily many great ramen restaurant in London to choose from, however my absolute favourite has to be Tonkotsu. I’ve tried loads of different places, but I always end up coming back here. They’re famous for their tonkotsu ramen that the restaurant is named after. They enrich their broth with extra lardo and it’s just the best. Invariably I almost always go for it, though their chicken ramen is also great. They’ve got several different branches across London now. The one in Selfridges Food Hall is particularly useful after a hard day’s shopping in the West End. I do wish they had non-mushroom gyoza on the menu there though as they have in their other branches. Also worth picking up while you’re in the restaurant is a jar of their delicious ‘Eat the bits’ chilli oil which is delicious to keep at home and used to add spice to just about anything.