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Ramen Resolution – Shoryu takeout

Ramen Resolution – Shoryu takeout

Matsuri is the Japanese word for festival, and Sunday just gone saw Trafalgar Square taken over with all things Japanese.

The weather wasn’t great but stayed mostly dry and so was able to catch about an hour of the entertainment line up which included traditional dancing, some impressive hats and costumes, anime artworks and a man playing the koto (which is a bit like a lying down harp from what I could gather).

What better way to enjoy this than sitting down with a bowl of ramen and a freebie yakkult?!

I’ve been to Shoryu before, in fact, it was the very FIRST place I visited in my #RamenResolution adventure!

Dishing up noodles from a stall necessitated a more limited menu than branches of the restaurant; with just two options Tonkotsu or Spicy. Having had a spell of just regular tonkotsu’s recently I went the spicy route and wasn’t disappointed.

It looked like quite a meagre portion, but actually came away feeling full, which for street food is basically unheard of. In fact, with melt in the mouth pork and spicy but not blow-your-head-off broth I was really pleased. The only downside was the inability to properly slurp the soup.

Idea for a festival: RAMEN!! Just halls full of ramen. Yes please. Somebody make this happen!

Ramen Resolution – Koi Ramen IRL

Ramen Resolution – Koi Ramen IRL

On a walking tour of London’s Glittering Soho™, the guide told us about the steep rise in popularity of pasta after the second world war; that Londoner’s went mad for spaghetti. That’s basically the reaction my dad had when he first tried Thai food a few years ago, he couldn’t get enough.

So, when he came down to London for the day I thought we’d introduce him to ramen, so off we set for Koi Ramen in Tooting Market (I’ve blogged before about their noodle home delivery service but this was my first time actually eating there).

Naturally, on the way I got the eye-roll-inducing moans of “£10 for a bowl of noodles” so to quiet him we stopped off at Graveney Gin first, plus I figured get him drunk and I wouldn’t have to pay!

The menu at Koi is super limited. I don’t necessarily see that as a bad thing. ‘Do a few things really well’ is a good philosophy, but as a first-timer, it can be a bit concerning to not see things you recognise. Thankfully he had me to guide him through his first ramen experience.

We both opted for the Tonkotsu, with an egg (because we all know by now that and egg should really be compulsory) and threw in a side of gyoza for good measure.

It’s always fun when you can see into the kitchen and watch the chefs work their magic.

After a few minutes, two steaming bowls of noodles were placed in front of us. Light milky broth, moist sweet pork, the richness of egg yolk and the ocean taste of nori. The noodles were the right level of hardness for me but the broth could have been slightly thicker and silkier.

My Dad was impressed with his first ramen experience and I think Koi was a great choice for authentic style ramen in the hustle and bustle of south west London.

Ramen Resolution – Kanada-Ya Islington

Ramen Resolution – Kanada-Ya Islington

I think this is the first post that I’ve written entirely on my phone! How’s that for technical wizardry?!

I’m rarely early for things, but when it does happen my favourite game to play is to tap into google maps “ramen near me” and then go tasting.

Thats exactly what I did this evening whilst waiting for friends to arrive for a gig.

Step forward Kanada-Ya Islington.

I’ve previously checked out their branches near Tottenham Court Road station and in Piccadilly, so I knew to expect good things.

Let me tell you, this could be some of the best ramen I have had in 2019.

To be honest, it’s always a good sign that you can pick your noodle hardness!

I declared 2019 “Year of the Yuzu” back in January, so my menu selection was easy, the Spicy Yuzu ramen jumped out!

Here it is…

…there it was!

The yuzu was nicely balanced, not too citrusy, but enough to cut through the frothy and salty broth; the pork was a little firm, but tasty. In hindsight it could have benefited from an egg.

Oh, and see that other plate there? I thought I’d teat myself to a ‘small plate’ of chasu pork belly. Why? Well, in a few weeks we’ll be eating wild squirrel and foraged turnips, laughing hysterically about when we could eat in restaurants.

Obviously the pork was lovely but that dipping sauce…that was absolutely devine. Definitely recommend!

Well done Kanada-Ya, you’ve done it again!

Ramen Resolution – Tatami

Ramen Resolution – Tatami

For lunch at a work event yesterday it was a toss-up between cheese sandwiches with curly edges, or literally anything else. So a colleague and I dashed over to Flat Iron Square in London’s glittering Southwark to grab a quick bite.

Flat Iron Square is one of those trendy ‘food hall’ type places where there are lots of different types of ‘street food’ under the same roof. Notice those air quotes – because I feel like these are just new words for things that existed before.

Tatami Ramen was one of the busiest places there, but I literally only had to wait a matter of minutes before my Pork Tonkotsu order was up on the counter for collection.

For takeout noodles they were actually pretty good – the broth was salty and creamy, and there were two sheets of nori rather than the standard one, and a handful of rocket. A bonus topping, which I didn’t see listed on the menu, was crispy onions, which gave a subtle caramel sweetness.

Also, because I’m bad at cropping photos, you also get to see my shoes and a little bit of Sophie’s leg!

The noodles themselves were a tad on the soft side, and as you can see above, the egg was a little overdone; but as a quick snack, you can’t really fault Tatami.

Also worth pointing out that whilst £8 for lunch is probably a bit on the steep side, I think that is the cheapest ramen that I’ve found in London in 3 years of ramen adventures.

I’ll definitely go back (I want to try the vegan ramen, which has a kombucha based broth because hipster!) and would definitely recommend if you’re at Flat Iron Square, or just in the general London Bridge area and need a bowl of ramen!

Ramen Resolution – Bone Daddies (Soho) (again)

Ramen Resolution – Bone Daddies (Soho) (again)

There are so many ramen places that I sometimes feel that going back to places might mean I’m missing out on new discoveries. However, if you’ve had Bone Daddies’ Korean Fried Chicken Wings then you’ll understand that it is hard to resist its siren call.

That was the case when a good friend made a spontaneous trip to London recently and I was given the task of arranging food.

Paul lives in Birmingham. The UK’s second city is not known for extensive ramen options, so I thought it was the perfect choice for us.

After a couple of drinks on Bermondsey Street, we hopped the tube a couple of stops to Soho.

Regular readers (the WordPress stats tell me there is at least one of you!) will know that I’m a regular Bone Daddies customer. You can read previous reviews here and here.

Earlier this year, to nobody in particular, I declared 2019 “Year of the Yuzu” and so when I saw Yuzu Tonkotsu on the menu that was a no-brainer option for me. Paul chose the Crab Tonkotsu and then we shared chicken wings (obvs) and pork ribs (but they arrived after I took the photo).

That’s also a green tea hanging out there, because, health.

Bone Daddies is NOT authentic Japanese ramen. The flavours are punchier, it lacks a certain elegance and restraint that seems common in lots of other places. But that does not stop it being delicious. Plus, they make their playlists available on Spotify!

They’ve created a vibe in the restaurant which makes it just a nice place to hang out, catch up with great friends and exchange stories which cannot have any place on the internet!

I recommend it to everybody, and no doubt will be back there before too long.

Ramen Resolution: Maki Ramen

Ramen Resolution: Maki Ramen

What to do with a spare hour in Edinburgh? That was a dilemma I faced today.

It was a toss up between going back to Union of Genius (a shop I visited in 2015 which only sells three soups each day and you can do a soup flight!) or finding a ramen place.

Maki Ramen was just around the corner from where I was, they had a 4.4 rating on Google AND I really liked their logo, so the choice had been made for me.

Hardly surprising that at 4pm I was the only customer, but the walls are decorated with post-it notes from customers and it’s clear to see that there’s a lot of love for this place. Bonus point for the ramen-based joke.

I ordered the vegetable gyoza and the black garlic tonkotsu (the online menu shows lots of different options that weren’t on the IRL one).

The ramen arrived first; burnt garlic oil and garlic chips packed a powerful garlicky punch. The broth was perhaps on the less viscous side, especially considering it was a tonkotsu, but delicious all the same.

The pork was perhaps a little dry, but they had scorched the outside edges to give a sweet, smoky crispness.

The gyoza was disappointing. Firstly, I think I ordered vegetable but pork arrived (but I could have misordered) and the filling was a bit too pureed. That would have been ok ordinarily, but instead of a dipping sauce, the tangy ponzo had been drizzled over the dumplings. This made even the fried crispy part soggy, so it was all just a bit wet.

Maki Ramen was good enough, relatively cheap, and well located. But other than the pork there was nothing extra special about it, so I’m awarding a middle-of-the-road 3/5.

Ramen Resolution: Kanada-Ya Picadilly

Ramen Resolution: Kanada-Ya Picadilly

I’m not sure ramen is the best pre-theatre food – it’s too comforting and often all I want to do afterwards is go home and sit.

However, it had been a while since my last post and there was a restaurant I wanted to check out just around the corner from the Haymarket Theatre, so it seemed like the obvious choice.

Kanada-Ya has got a few branches in London (I’ve previously reviewed the Covent Garden branch) but this time it was the Piccadilly shop that we called in to. They don’t seat incomplete parties and Mel was running late (she has a geography degree but she got lost!) so I was doing my best to defend our place in the queue.

Side note: One thing I liked about restaurants in NYC is the system for putting your name down, we should import that.

The bonus of ramen is that it’s quick and people don’t drag it out, so it wasn’t long before we were seated.

I ordered the salmon onigiri to start, I chose the Chicken Paitan and Mel opted for the basic Tonkotsu ramen. We both naturally added an egg, which should always come as standard (I am prepared to die on this particular hill).

The onigiri looked better than they tasted; a more liberal squirt of mayonnaise and a bit more salmon would have improved it no end. The noodles were great, just the right firmness (hard) and my broth was thicker than some of the chicken broths I’ve previously tried.

I also had a beer, purely because it had the same name as my cat!

We didn’t stay long because we had to collect tickets and go see a show, but I’d definitely go back to Kanada-Ya again.

Also – a shout out for them being the only ramen joint I’ve visited that has a specific kids ramen menu.

Kanada-Ya Piccadilly gets a solid 4/5.