Friday 13 May 2016

FIVE FRIDAY: Best Ramen in London

Ramen is without a doubt one of my favourite foods. I absolutely adore the rich, creamy broths and assortment of noddles found in the depths of the soup. It's delicious, warming, soul food plus not that unhealthy either despite being extremely belly filling. I'm already planning out ramen joints to visit in Japan later this year.

Ramen had a bit of a thing in London a few years ago when an abundance of places opened up all over the city, especially Soho. Now that many of these joints are well established I think the trend is dying down a little.

Let's talk about my favourite five in London.

1. Nanban, Brixton

Kumamoto Ramen - Thin noodles in nose-to-tail pork broth with garlic chips, burnt garlic oil, pork belly, tea-pickled egg, and pickled mustard greens

A relative new comer to the ramen scene, Nanban is the creation of 2011 Master Chef winner Tim Anderson and is found around the corner from Brixton tube station on Coldharbour Lane. I've only visited once (with Lily a few months ago) but I enjoyed my kumamoto ramen so much that I knew it would be joining the list. The soup is a rich and creamy pork broth and the addition of garlic chips and mustard greens give it some punch. The egg was perfect, the noodles had that all important bite and the slices of fatty pork were delicious.

The side of fried chicken was also great, crispy yet succulent and with a hint of heat.

2. Kanada-ya, central London

Original Ramen

Kanada-ya is my favourite ramen joint in London. The menu is small but what the restaurant lacks in choice is sure does make up for in flavour. The broth is so creamy it's hard to believe that it's just made from pork bones. The noddles are cooked to your preference (I like mine with a little bite) and whilst the egg is an optional extra, the perfect yolk is too hard to resist. Perfect noodles, perfect slices of pork and a simple topping in the form of spring onions and mushrooms but I always ask for the latter to be removed. If you only try one bowl of ramen in London make sure it's here.

The fried chicken and rice balls are nice too but it's all about the ramen here.

3. Bone Daddies, Soho

T22 - soy ramen, chicken, cock scratchings (chicken bone broth)

I'd definitely go out on a limb and say the ramen at Bone Daddies is not the most traditional you'll find in London. That being said I absolutely adore the vibe of this restaurant is the ramen is tasty enough to keep me coming back. I always get the T22 with an extra portion of corn but I love the chicken flavour from this dish. The crispy chicken scratching and soy base make this broth extremely delicious plus it comes with a perfectly cooked egg which is always a bonus.

Bone Daddies has a great selection of side dishes. I love the Korean fried chicken wings, broccoli and croquettes but unless you are absolutely starving the ramen is usually enough to fill you up.

4. Tonkotsu, Soho


I first visited Tonkotsu when it opened in Soho many years ago and whilst I remember enjoying my meal I never managed to visit again. This was until a few weeks ago when Steve and I were searching out a late lunch location in Soho. Keeping things simple I ordered the signature dish for which I am very glad because it was wonderful. Creamy, full of flavour and basically everything you could ever want from a bowl of ramen. Similar to the Kanada-ya ramen in taste and accompaniments this is an extremely comforting and delicious bowl of food.

Tonkotsu have a great collection of sharing plates from fried chicken to king prawn katsu and even the broccoli is tasty.

5. Ramen Sasuke, Soho

Shoyu chashu ramen

Ramen Sasuke is tucked away from the crowds at Piccadilly Circus. It's a small, simple ramen joint and I've never had to queue to get a table so I'm guessing that it has somehow not reached the massive like Kanada-ya and Bone Daddies. But don't let that put you off. The ramen here is wonderful and what I can only image to be quite authentic. Unlike the other places I've mentioned the ramen I've tried here is not made from a pork bone broth but instead is miso based. This means it's a little less intense than the other but nevertheless still packed full of ingredients. The slices of pork melt in your mouth thanks to the jellied fatty centres and the accompanying vegetable is simple. The corn and egg were added extras which means the prices can add up a little but it's worth it because you'll leave with a full belly and smile on your face from an absolutely delightful meal.

The fried chicken is excellent here as well.

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  1. I love ramen but always have to check in advance that there are options for non-pork broth... I loved Sasuke - went on my own and no queue at all! x

  2. Love this summary of London's ramen joints :) The Nanban one looks amazing. I'll be in Fukuoka for two weeks from tomorrow, mainly so that I can eat my body weight in tonkotsu ramen haha.

  3. I love Ramen and would be happy to try the couple of spots on this list I haven't tried yet. Now, I'm just hoping a good ramen spot will open on the French Riviera soon.

    - Elodie x


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