When I went to London with my colleague last month, I expected a lot of things but not that we would feast on Tonkotsu ramen 3 meals in a row! Yet that's exactly what happened...
To contextualize a little so you understand how it all started, we had planned to go see Motown (the musical) on the evening of our arrival. After dropping our bags at the hotel and exploring a bit the city, we found ourselves a tad short on time and in need of a "quick" dinner. We had the choice between Shake Shack, a strange Korean fast food and Shoryu. You can guess which option we chose and how the deviance started...We picked Shoryu because ramen was something I knew and healthier than Shake Shack!
The ramen was quite good and actually way better than what I have found so far in Brussels. The broth was good and in the end what I expected of a chain although at first, I had no idea that I would keep seeing Shoryu signs everywhere in London. It was a good discovery and a safe bet if you are hungry and in a hurry, plus the price was reasonable.
The story continued the following day when, at lunch, when we walked through Westminster and stumbled upon Tonkotsu and it's sunny terrace. Again, we had other options nearby but none seemed as good so we sat down and examined the menu. By then, I had decided to eat again a Tonkotsu Ramen to taste the difference between restaurants and elect the best ramen-ya in London! My colleague took a special ramen for a change, a chicken broth and seafood. In comparison with the bowl from the previous night, Tonkotsu offered a much richer, fattier and creamier broth, it was surprising but delicious!
Finally, we ended the story on the last day of our long weekend just before taking our train back to Brussels. We had spotted close to the theater where they played Motown a ramen-ya called Kanada-Ya. No matter the day or the time, you will see an incredibly long queue of people waiting for a seat...The kind that starts at the door of the restaurant and ends 30m away...It was no joke and people would even queue in the rain! I had to try this place as well, it looked like the perfect point of comparison because it seemed so popular with Asian people. We arrived at 4PM to be certain to not have too wait too long for a table and the time to eat before taking our train. The bowls were ordered fast and arrived even faster at our table. Unsurprisingly, it was another delicious treat...
Where can you eat the best Tonkotsu Ramen in London?!
As you can imagine, this is going to be my own preference and maybe you won't agree but hey, that's life ;) so here goes nothing:
First criterion : the food itself
Tonkotsu got my vote because the broth was rich, fat and creamy which is something that I really appreciated! The heavier the better in my opinion (even though it is hard to finish a bowl) and here it coated my spoon perfectly.
Kanada-Ya comes second because the broth was spot on in terms of taste yet not heavy enough to my taste but I can totally see why people would queue to get a seat! (I would put it ex-quo with Tonkotsu to be perfectly honest)
Shoryu comes last because it's good but it didn't beat any of the competition and lacks some depth in the broth's flavor.
Second criterion: Staff
In a ramen-ya I like the staff to be either Japanese or to speak Japanese and there should be Asians in the kitchen. As such Kanada-Ya gets my vote because they filled all the requirements.
Shoryu comes second because in the open kitchen you can clearly identify the staff as Japanese (at least in the one I visited) and the clerks try to welcome you with Japanese words.
Tonkotsu comes last because the staff that you are in contact with isn't Japanese and doesn't speak the language.
Third criterion: the atmosphere
Tonkotsu has my vote for the nice atmosphere and the terrace, perfect for a summary lunch. It was a really nice experience and the drink list is interesting!
Shoryu goes second because it can be noisy in there but it was still cozy.
Kanada-ya goes last because you're often stuck outside waiting (even if it's worth it), the place is usually crowded and you don't have much space for yourself (legs, belongings etc.).
Fourth criterion: the price
If you're looking for a good bargain between the price and the taste then visit Tonkotsu. For 11£ you'll get a delicious Tonkotsu with a generous portion of noodle and pork! Other Ramen costs at most 12.95£.
My second choice, close to ex-quo with Tonkotsu, is Kanada-Ya which offers a delicious bowl of ramen for 10.50£. The other ramen are more expensive though, this is why it's ex-quo.
My last choice is Shoryu because it offers deals at 9.90£ because there is no guarantee that this price is maintained. Usual price is around 11.90£ for a bowl of regular ramen.
Taking each criterion into consideration, I would say that the best Tonkotsu Ramen in London can be found at Tonkotsu for those of you who love creamy/fatty broth! For those who like authentic and lighted borth, I would definitely tell them to visit Kanada-ya!
Have you visited any of these 3 ramen-ya? What's your opinion or best...Do you know a better address?! Share the love ;)
Find Tonkotsu here:
Find Kanada-Ya here: