Here at IDEAL we’re crazy about ramen. We don’t think we could live without this delicious and nutritious bowl of goodness. You’ll often find us eating at one of our favourite ramen joints with a bottle of sake, or shovelling down a bowl of it on the weekend, after a heavy night of drinking.
Whilst so much of Japanese food follows a rigid, quasi-religious formula, ramen can be interpreted any which way the chef wants, leading to a unique personality from each individual purveyor of the good stuff. With this expression of personality through broth and noodles in mind, here are our 5 IDEAL picks for fantastic ramen in London.
If you ask a food critic where you can get the best bowl of ramen in London, they will undoubtedly say Tonkotsu. Just thinking about the creamy pork broth and the firm slices of melt-in-the-mouth pork belly makes us salivate. For us, the thing that stands out about this place is their springy noodles. The owners spent months perfecting the recipe for them, and perfect it they have.
The pork ramen here is a thing of beauty – it’s creamy, salty, unctuous broth is rich and simply divine. The owner is known for creating his own food narrative with its roots in the southern island of Kyushu, where bold flavours and foreign influences reign supreme. The intensely flavoured curried goat Tsukemen (dipping noodles) is a perfect example of this. Inspired by Brixton’s large Caribbean contingent, this popular dish comes in two bowls: one containing the tender goat curry and the other ramen, scotch bonnets and pickled bamboo shoots, just to give it that extra punch.
P.S. You’ll want to order two perfectly gooey-yolked, tea-cured eggs – they’re that good. And the angry bird chicken wings. They should be part of your order as well.
KOI RAMEN BAR
Currently located in Pop Brixton, Brick Lane Market and Tooting Market, Koi Ramen serves up some seriously good bowls of ramen in all three locations. We especially love Koi Ramen’s digs in Pop Brixton. They also specialise in Tonkotsu ramen but we adore their Miso Ramen, which has all the saltiness and depth one would expect from the title. If you’re only to order one dish, order this.
This ramen joint specialises in authentic tonkotsu ramen. Their rich 18 hour pork bone broth gives an extra-meaty oomph and the noodles are silky smooth. It also does monthly specials which keeps the menu interesting and keeps us coming back. The only dish we aren’t too keen on is their ‘Truffe Ramen’ – with porcini truffle paste and white truffle oil it’s little too rich and one dimensional for our taste buds – that said, if you love truffle, you’ll love this bowl of noodles.
With 6 outposts and, reputedly more to come, Shoryu Ramen must be doing something right. This joint specialises in Hakata (where the owner was born) tonkotsu, which utilises a thin noodle and white pork stock. Of equal importance to the dining experience is the pairing of ramen to their gyoza – delicious, fried dumplings. The finest found here are filled with pork, further enhancing the piggy credentials of this must-try ramen joint.
Top image source: giphy.com