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[London] ramen ramen ramen

  • Lina May 8, 2009 02:37 AM
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I have mysteriously come down with a serious ramen addiction.

However, I don't know where to find decent ramen in London and frankly, am not much of a connoisseur yet.

What's your favorite type of ramen? Where do you get it? Tell me everything.

Also, anyone found anyone serving a decent tonkotsu?

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  1. Alas, nothing great yet. The shoyu ramen at Eat Tokyo in Soho is pretty good, yet to see any tonkotsu ramen, which is also the style that I like most.

    4 Replies
    1. re: limster

      Let's open a tonkotsu and banh mi shop. I really need both immediately.

      1. re: Lina

        There's at least 2 places that serve banh mi (but haven't been myself):

        Cafe Bay - http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/587450
        Banzi - http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5800...

        1. re: limster

          Not to derail the ramen convo, but in a city this size there should be WAY more banh mi options. I am going give these two a go asap, though. Don't knock the banh mi/ramen outlet option. We could do Korean tacos too.

          1. re: Lina

            Yes it's always been a mystery to me why there aren't any dedicated banh mi shops, or more generally Vietnamese bakeries, in London.

            I have tried Cafe Bay (thanks to Babybat for the tip) and was quite impressed with the banh mi (I had the special) which was tasty and quite true to versions I have tried in Vietnam itself and in NYC's and Melbourne's Little Saigons. Veggies weren't pickled enough though and there wasn't enough of a chilli kick as I remember it.

            Don't get me started on London's ramen culture, myself and Foreign Muck have bemoaned this before and mooted the idea of opening our own shop. On my last trip to Japan, I was inspired by the story and shop of the New Yorker who is serving noodles to the Japanese and winning them over.

            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/576374

            For the moment, our best hope may be that Ippudo (Hakata-founded ramen shop chain serving a lighter style tonkotsu) opens up in London having successfully opened its first overseas branch in Manhattan in March 2008.

    2. I went to Japan claiming I didn't particularly like noodles but came back with a heavy ramen habit.

      Nowhere in London has really matched Japan, the stock isn't quite right .

      However Ramen Seto on Kingley St , behind Regent St up towards Carnaby St is the closest I've found; the char su men is good.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Paprikaboy

        Ramen Seto puts mangetout in their ramen. :(

      2. i have this conversation a lot with my Japanese friends. We`ve all decided that rather than being disappointed with poor ramen, we should all just appreciate it when we go back to japan.

        However, sometimes we can`t wait so...

        Nagomi off baker street is one of the better ones. (Shoyu or tonkotsu)
        Also, I seem to remember having an ok one at tatsuso in Liverpool street (but it was a while back)
        Ribon near the Old bailey has ramen for lunch (I think mondays?) and my friends have said it was ok...for London.

        I used to work at ramen ryo (when it was called hamine) and it can be ok but at best, average. Mr Seto used to be the chef but left to set up Ramen Seto but I`m not sure if he is still there.

        Amongst the Japanese salaryman over here (駐在員), i think the consensus is that the ramen at a Japanese owned golf course/club in Hatfield is best. (can`t remember details but i could find out if anyone is prepared for the long trek)

        One other thing, which is a bit of a long shot but...
        Apparently, the Canon European office in Ansterdam is relocation/joining the UK office. Currently, they say that the ramen restaurant they have is the nearest they have had to Japan. With the relocation, the restaurant may have to close (most customers are from Canon) and they were hoping to convince the owners to open a place in London!

        2 Replies
        1. re: wongkei

          Good call Lina!
          Going to have to attempt making my own tonkotsu one of these days. It's going to be a challenge, but well worth it if i can pull it off... If it works, I may well open a speicalist ramen shop! It's one of my life long dreams....

          1. re: wongkei

            wongkei, I just got around to following your advice. I tried Nagomi today and the ramen was definitely the best I've had in London so far. Was really pleased with the tonkotsu broth. It wasn't amazing, but definitely a million times better than what I've been contenting myself with at Noodle Noodle (ugh) as of late. Thanks for that!

          2. Has anyone tried the ramen at Japan Centre or Arigato? Arigato doesn't have it on the menu, but I'm fairly certain that I've seen it being eaten there.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Lina

              Ramen at Japan Centre is at best, o-k. It only has a couple of varieties - shoyu or miso, with or without char siu. Probably just about enough to satisfy those ramen pangs but leaves a lot to be desired when compared to a good ol' authentic tonkotsu ramen. I will probably compare it on par with the shoyu ramen at Eat Tokyo in soho - but not sure if that is exactly a compliment.

              I have the same grievance as well in terms of the lack of ramen scene in London, and if anybody is interested in opening a ramen-ya here, please please get me involved.

            2. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/657299
              A shio base ramen recipe, ... Hope you will try it before coming in Japan
              Bests

              1. Finally tried the tonkotsu ramen at Nagomi, and it's as wongkei described. There's just the faintest possible bit of wiry texture to the thinnish noodles, the broth is pleasantly milky and punctuated with what I thought were droplets of sesame oil (hard to tell as the dish was also garnished with lots of toasted sesame, which I really liked). The pork in it was well seasoned (soy sauce and star anise?) and very tender. Very good for the area.

                Also had the chicken wings stuffed with minced prawn, loved the crunch of the prawn filling contrasting with the soft and slightly gelatinous fat of the skin.

                Matcha and sesame ice cream with adzuki beans and kinako/toasted soy bean flour was more than serviceable but not out of this world.