Let’s be upfront about this, lockdown has significantly affected my access to noodles. That, in turn, means I’ve had little to blog about. It’s been a tough time for everyone. There are support lines available.
However, the time has not been wasted and I’m the proud owner of a list of places to check out as restrictions are reduced.
With that in mind, when Nick had the genius idea of grabbing ramen I was quick to consider CoCoRo in Bloomsbury. CoCoRo self describes as ‘a space with a feel of genuine Japan in central London’. This authenticity sounded just the ticket after a few misguided attempts at making ramen at home.
But, sad news: CoCoRo remains temporarily closed until further notice. *shakes fist*
I turned back to my list and opted to go with a slightly off the beaten track (i.e. out of Zone 1) option, Ramo Ramen in Kentish Town.
My interest was piqued by the idea of Filipinx-Japanese ramen. What even is that?!
There seemed to be a slight nod towards a movie theme in the decor, which I did’t really understand.
We’d both had a chance to study the menu in advance so we were quick to order the miso baked prawn gyoza, the squid karrage and two bowls of the award-winning oxtail kare kare ramen; 2018 winner of Battle of the Broths.
I braved it and opted to drink something called a Dragons Fizz. This turned out to be a tropical sherbety mocktail in a luminous green. Nick chose a large glass of milo with tapioca balls. I’m going to say it, lumpy drinks are not the one for me.
The squid karrage isn’t listed on the online menu, so this was a nice surprise addition of tender squid and crisp and salty batter.
Prawn gyoza sounds fairly typical, but the twist here is that they are baked and then smothered in bechamel sauce and cheese. It was an interesting concept, kind of like a tiny prawn lasagne.
The ramen broth was a rich earthy brown colour, slightly oily but without the same stickiness of a tonkotsu broth. Dotted through the soup were plump shitake mushrooms, crisp spring onions, bamboo shoots, slightly sweet pea shoots and gloriously soft golden yolked eggs. Then there, slightly off centre, was a mound of deliciously soft and peanutty pulled oxtail which Nick agreed was “the perfect amount of meat” adding that the meat seemed to be the source of the peanuttyness.
I also really liked the stoneware bowls!
In a panic, I asked for the bill before we’d had a chance to order the mango peach pie for desert. So that’s the excuse for a return visit!
Randomly, the bill was presented in a Kill Bill 2 DVD case (why?!). At £12.50 a bowl it’s far from the cheapest you can find, but as a post-lockdown treat it was an absolute bargain!
I have to dock some points for the music selection. Back-to-back Justin Timberlake is the last thing we need in 2020. Especially if not one of those songs is ‘Mirrors’.
I’m awarding Ramo Ramen a very strong 4.6 out of 5.