The craze for ramen hit London hard last year and you can't move for decent ramen bars now - Bone Daddies probably being the best known. For the uninitiated, ramen is one of Japan's most popular dishes and is essentially a big comforting bowl of richly flavoured soup stock created by simmering a combination of pork and chicken for hours until creamy and gelatinous. Then there's noodles, all manner of toppings and - crucially - a soft boiled egg marinated in soy. People get obsessed with this stuff.
I popped into Tonkotsu on Dean Street to try theirs out - obviously you can't book (sigh), but we were lucky enough to grab a table for four after just a few minutes wait at about 8.30pm on a Wednesday night. In Soho, that's pretty impressive - especially for somewhere consistently voted as having some of the best ramen in town (and we'd initially attempted to go to Balls & Co where we were told over an hour). There's also branches of Tonkotsu at Selfridges, Notting Hill, Hackney's Mare Street and a few more - see them here.
As you can see, it's really casual and stripped back. There's a short menu of fantastic sounding ramen dishes, a few extras, a few sides and some drinks. We all went for the signature Tonkotsu ramen and picked a couple of bits and pieces to share while we waited.
Next to it is the crab korokke, which is a Japanese style creamy crab croqueta which was beyond delicious. My only complaint is that there were only three.
Also, some blurry gyoza - the pork and ginger - again, we fought over the last one such was it's tastiness. Hot, fat with soft rich pork and a generous hint of ginger.
The main event arrives and it's everything you want on a chilly Soho evening...
I don't need to tell you how good that egg was and the creaminess of the soup base was just incredible. You could literally never hope to create such deep amazing flavours at home. There was also absolutely loads of lovely pork belly slices nestled in there, and you can't even see the noodles as it was packed with so much veg. None of us could finish our bowl despite our best intentions, and considering that bowl costs £11, that's a fairly impressive feat.
Really lovely stuff. The ramen, sharing snacks and a glass of homemade yuzu lemonade (thank you for not just having boring non-alcoholic drinks) cost me £17.