Kanada-Ya – Soho, London, UK

It was the beginning of the end of summer in London. “In London? What summer?” I hear you ask. Don’t worry I am with you there, but this is when it started feeling cold enough to put tights and a trench coat on and a light scarf in my bag just in case. It was drizzly outside and all we wanted was a big bowl of bone broth noodle soup (to be honest all we really wanted was to be inside the house all day, stay in pajamas and watch telly but we were productive humans and went to work and then met for dinner afterwards).

We decided on Kanada-ya which my friend recommended was really good for ramen, so off to Piccadilly Circus we went and into the tiny little ramen bar and luckily we got a table downstairs in the warmth.

We genuinely wanted everything on the menu and as it was Friday, we thought we would treat ourselves with a portion of Karaage, a portion of Chashu Don, and a Tsuna Onigiri to share and then a bowl of ramen each! Yes, this was a lot of food in hindsight, but at the time we just wanted it all!

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Karaage
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Karaage
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Chasiu Don
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Tsuna Onigiri

The karaage (or fried chicken bites) were absolutely delicious especially when dipped in the side sauce of yuzu mayo – this was my favourite of the . The pork on the Chasiu Don literally fell apart because it was so soft and along with the sauce and the rice, it was a marriage made in heaven. The Onigiri was probably my least favourite but only because the other two dishes were both bursting with great flavours and it was very difficult to compete with those flavours.

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The Vegetarian Ramen
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The Truffle Ramen
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The Spicy Yuzu Ramen

I had the spicy yuzu ramen and I was pleasantly surprised at how good the broth was. It was extremely creamy from all the hours of bone broth creating. I did try the vegetarian ramen broth and it tasted very much like a creamy mushroom soup. The ramen was all very good. I would say it was disappointing that none of the ramen options on the menu came with the famous ramen egg that has been soaked in soy sauce and we all had to order this as an extra to our dishes – this felt a little bit wrong as traditionally there really should have been an egg in there or at least a ramen option with an egg on the menu.

Overall the food was great! It is a nice, warm, little noodle bar. The service was very quick and the food was reasonably priced.

Definitely worth a try!

http://www.kanada-ya.com/piccadilly

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Ippudo -Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong

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After some shopping around TST (Tsim Sha Tsui) in Hong Kong which is a great area for shopping, Jean and I were famished and came across a cute little Japanese ramen bar in one of the shopping malls.

We were seated by a lovely Japanese waitress and on the table in front of us were all the cute little trimmings including; a sesame seed grinder, a garlic crusher and two little salads.

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We decided that all the starters sounded so delicious and we would just order loads of them and just share one bowl of ramen – which ended up being a good shout because we got to try a bit of everything.

We got the calamari, the fish roe stuffed chicken wings, the gyoza and a bowl of their spicy pork ramen. The calamari were perfectly cooked – still soft (not rubbery) and the batter was a light and flavourful dusting (not the thick tasteless batter that you can get sometimes). The wings were lovely and crisp on the outside and the gyoza were lovely too. The ramen was super spicy but tasty all the same.

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The perfect no-frills-restaurant for a post-TST-shopping-spree-dinner.

http://www.ippudo.com.hk/en/

http://www.openrice.com/en/hongkong/r-ippudo-hk-tsim-sha-tsui-japanese-ramen-r52892

 

Tonkotsu – Southwark, London

Keeping to the ramen theme (and the recent wintery, cold and rainy weather in London) – Another great ramen place to go is Tonkotsu. They have a couple of restaurants in London now, including one in Hackney which has over 60 different brands of whiskeys to offer and one inside Selfridges in case you are hungry during a shopping spree.

We went to the one in Southwark. We went there late on the Thursday night and it had a really calm, chilled out vibe.

They make their own noodles from scratch and they make their own broths etc, but what they are famous for making are their own brand “Eat The Bits” Chilli Oil that they serve in their restaurants.

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We started the meal with pork gyozas and fried squid which were both delicious. The gyoza had a tasty and juicy middle and I loved that the squid was not thickly battered and was instead lightly coated.20160413_211442

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For main we shared a chilli chicken ramen which was absolutely perfect to warm our bellies for the cold evening. The chili oil was delicious to pour over it as well.20160413_212524

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Lovely meal and well priced.

http://www.tonkotsu.co.uk/

Bone Daddies – Soho, London

The last time I did a blog post about Bone Daddies was a while ago. So it is time to give an updated one (with much better photos compared to the ones taken on my old phone – thank you technology evolution).

Come rain, snow, icy wind and cold English weather – this is the place I crave.

Jack and I went recently. Hidden away in a small side street in Soho, it’s got a cool, casual, light rock-type vibe, but not too in your face and I think their food, their service and their atmosphere is fantastic for a modern, big city, ramen bar.

We got a starter of wild soft shell crab tempura £9.40. If you haven’t tried this and you are a fan of seafood – well then you are most definitely missing out. I wasn’t a massive fan of the ginger sauce on the side but I dipped them into soya sauce instead and they tasted absolutely stunning. The crunch of the tempura coating on the outside and the softness of the crab on the inside is a gorgeous contrast.

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Then I got my Bone Daddies bib on ready for my ramen!IMG-20160525-WA0009

We got the Tonkotsu Ramen £11. Tonkotsu is a pork bone broth which is usually cooked for about 20 hours until the soup goes a milky white. Absolutely beautiful and it must have so much goodness in there.

Ramen is a particular type of Japanese wheat noodle that usually comes in a pork broth that has cooked for so long that it has become creamy and it is absolutely gorgeous. What makes a ramen dish exciting are all the little colourful parts of it – The spring onions, the meat that falls apart, the bamboo shoots that give a sweet crunch, the fresh beansprouts, the nori (seaweed) and those melt in your mouth, soya dipped, runny yolked eggs! ARGH GET IN MY MOUTH NOW! (Sorry I got a little carried away there).20150920_134959

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If you haven’t been to Bone Daddies yet – try and make it there for some gorgeous, feel-good, Japanese comfort food.

http://www.bonedaddies.com/peter-st-soho/

Shoryu Ramen – The Battle of the Soho Ramen Bars, London

As the winter approaches and the grey, rainy, months that London is infamous for begin, where the sun stops shining and the birds stop singing – you can find sanctuary in the warmth of the new craze of the Ramen bars in Soho.

Ramen, Hirata Buns and Japanese Tapas seem to be what all the cool kids in Soho are eating these days. So, one rainy Friday evening Claire and I decided to try out Shoryu Ramen, just down one of the side streets off Shaftsbury Avenue in Soho, London.

They don’t take bookings but if you get early enough you will definitely get a table – but by 8pm a queue begins at the door. As you walk through the Japanese Noren door curtains, you’ll be greeted and taken to your table through the wonderful smells in the restaurant. The waiters/waitresses really know the food and are happy to help you decide what to order.

As it was still happy hour in the restaurant (£5.00 per cocktails during happy hour), we obviously had to have a cocktail to start off the evening – we had a Wasabi Martini, which was sweeter than I expected but delicious all the same. With an open kitchen, you can see your food being freshly made by the chefs – and the wonderful smells coming out of the pots and pans are mouth-watering.

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We wanted to try everything on the menu but ended up ordering the Pork Belly Hirata Buns (£4.00 for 1 or £6.00 for 2), Tempura Soft Shell Crab (£7.00), and for the mains I had a Tokyo Shoyru (£9.90) and Claire had a Tori Kara-Age Men (£10.90).

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Hirata Buns are the new talk of the town with their sweet, fluffy, yet sticky buns, shaped like pita bread and filled with either fish, pork, chicken, prawn or mushrooms. We ordered the bbq pork belly which had a lovely bbq sauce, cucumber, salad leaves, and a Japanese mayonnaise.

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Tempura Soft Shell Crab are an incredible invention. These soft shell crabs are dipped into a tempura batter (shells stay on) and it is deep fried and served with a sweet, sesame soy-sauce on the side to dip. Crunchy on the outside, soft and meaty and seaside flavours on the inside – you do not even notice the shell of the crab as it just blends with the batter.

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Tokyo Shoyu is made with the original thin Hosomen Noodles, which are the original Ramen egg noodle and have a great bite to them. Soaked in a soy and pork broth and then decorated with some bbq pork, nitamago (a delicious soft boiled egg seasoned with soya sauce – my favourite bit of the noodles), nori (a crispy seaweed), picked bamboo shoots, naruto fish cake (which have a completely different taste to the western fish cakes that are made with potatoes; instead these have a much bouncier and smoother texture to them and a much sweeter flavour), spring onions and bonito flakes (salty, fish flavoured flakes) sprinkled over for a finish. The broth was absolutely heart-warming – It tasted like miso soup, but with the flavours of the pork stock coming through. Ramen are an art form in Japan and these came looking absolutely stunning! On the table there is chili oil, sesame oil, fresh garlic and a garlic crusher, and other condiments to make the soup your own.

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Claire ordered the gluten-free noodles with her Tori Kara-Age Men, which tasted very much like a softer Vietnamese pho noodle.  have to admit that this was not to my taste. I am more of a ramen girl. The broth is a miso soup made with shitake mushrooms and konbu soy and it is decorated with fried chicken (tori kara-age is a Japanese friend chicken), nitamago, kikurage (a jelly textured, black fungus mushroom), nori, kelp, mushrooms, spring onions and a naruto fish cake. It had a very earthy flavour to it and was also very tasty.

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Exactly how I would imagine a little ramen bar in Japan to be like and we headed back out into the rain with very warm and happy bellies.

http://www.shoryuramen.com

Bone Daddies – The Battle of the Soho Ramen Bars – London

One drizzly Thursday evening (they say Thursday is the new Friday) Emma Susan Dodd and I decided on a casual ramen dinner at Bone Daddies in Soho. Ramen bars have been popping up all over London’s trendy Soho since this summer. Ramen and cocktails are definitely what all the cool kids are consuming- which means I must try them all too!

We arrived there just before 8pm and were surprised at how long the queue was already. It took us just under 30minutes to get a table and we had to wait in line – BUT we did get a couple shots of warm sake as we waited and we did get in a good catch up gossip session as well.

Before we knew it, we were inside and waiting for our table as we sipped on refreshingly cold Asahi beers.

When we were seated we discovered a number of exciting things on the table. There was a jar of hair ties (girls, you don’t want that hair getting in your soup), ridiculously large bibs (just to make sure you don’t get any splashes), fresh garlic and garlic crushers, sesame oil, chili, sesame seeds… all very exciting, but even more exciting than wearing our bibs and taking posed photos of ourselves, was the menu.

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Everything looked so good, it was hard to choose what we wanted. In the end we chose to share the Soft Shell Crab (£8) as a starter and we both got a Kim Chi Ramen (£11), which I believe is new because I didn’t see it on their menu online.

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I am a big soft shell crab fan. In fact, I would even go as far as saying that it is my favourite type of tempura (Bold statement, I know). It was very meaty and the claws were quite big for a soft shell crab and the ginger sauce on the side gave a kick to it and went very well.

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The kim chi ramen was exactly what I needed. It was very spicy and had a slight pickle taste to it just like kim chi does (Emma and I love our kim chi). The soup had ramen at the bottom and was decorated with goodness on the top (in Japan food is like an art and everything is made to look as beautiful as it tastes).

It came with the usual boiled egg with soft yolk, some bbq corn, Chinese cabbage, bamboo shoots, mussells, and some squid. I love spicy food and I love seafood so this was heavenly. I would definitely come back on a freezing wintery evening to warm my belly with this.

It was very filling, but when we paid our bill, the lovely waitress gave us a complimentary black sesame gelato (because we sat right by a rowdy group that were waiting in the queue), which was divine.

A very cool vibe, with the fashionable waiters and waitresses, loud rock music, great food and exciting cocktail menu. I definitely recommend for a fun dinner out!

http://bonedaddiesramen.com/menu/