So by now even the ramen virgins out there have established that Tonkotsu is a style of pork broth ramen. So naturally it would make sense to try its namesake. It would be fair to say that Tonkotsu was one of the first ramen chains to really make a name for itself in the capital. With fresh noodles made daily in both of their east London branches, you can see why they have had such success. Apart from the Ramen being the life and soul of the party, standout dishes include the chicken Karage (fried chicken) and sweet potato korroke (a type of croquette). For the whiskey fans among you make sure you hit up Tonkotsu Mare street, which houses more than 60 whiskies!
Mare Street Branch (closest to Qbic London City)
Where? 382 Mare Street, E8 1HR
Travel? Hackney Central Overground
Tre Viet is a mainstay on Mare Street and offers authentic, flavourful pho with all the various trimmings and options. Step out of your comfort zone and try the ultra fragrant ‘bun bo Hue’ featuring round vermicelli noodles with a spicy prawn-paste flavoured broth and prawn, fish cakes and dill on top.
Where: 245-249 Mare St, E8 3NS
When: Noon-11pm Mon-Thur, Sun; noon-11.30pm Fri, Sat
Travel: London Fields Overground
On The Bab
While On the Bab might be famed for small plates of Korean favourites and the ubiquitous bibimbab, we highly suggest you go in for their ‘on the noodle’ option. We love the packaged ramen style egg noodles and pungent red broth in a low tin bowl. Choose your meat and bab’s your uncle.
Where: 305 Old St, London EC1V 9LA
When: 11.30am-11pm Mon-Sat
Travel: Old Street Tube
Admittedly, London’s Chinatown pales in comparison to those of San Francisco and New York, however there are a few gems in the sides streets off Charing Cross road to check out. Our favourite spot for a simple, but cheap and filling Hong Kong char siu (roast pork) noodle soup is Jen Cafe. Also known or their delicious dumplings (hand rolled in window), this tiny spot with share tables and short stools does a mean soup. Make sure you pack some punch with the homemade chilli oil.
Where: 4-8 Newport Pl, London WC2H 7JP
When: Mon-Wed 11:30am to 9pm, Thurs-Sun 11:30am to 9:30pm
Travel: Leicester Square Tube
Koya restaurant closed some years ago now, but luckily for us Koya Bar is available to satisfy all manner of noodle craving from breakfast through to dinner. This is one of our absolute favourite spots in London. If you lean on the adventurous side and fancy a break from your porridge or croissant, we highly recommend a Koya Bar breakfast. Anything from their famous English Breakfast udon noodle with egg, bacon and shiitake mushroom or the even more daring Japanese breakfast of grilled fish, rice and miso soup, is inspired. As is the case with most places you’d want to eat in Soho, Koya Bar is no reservations, but definitely worth putting your name on the list, or swinging by midweek.
Where? 50 Frith Street, W1D 4SQ
Travel: Piccadilly Circus tube