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Three Ramen Places, London

I concur with most of the comments on this thread.

In a nutshell, if you are looking for an authentic satisfying bowl of ramen, head to Ittenbari (with predominantly Japanese clientele).

Tonkotsu is overrated and the only thing going for it is its superior marketing. Having said that, I can see how the watered down version of ramen is more popular with the non-traditionalists.

Sep 09, 2012
london_rover in U.K./Ireland

the london soho shoyu ramen awards

Rameniac - like foreignmuck, I've been a fan for years now. Recently went to Tokyo and survived on a few of your recommendations ;)

Shame you didn't try the best we could offer (ie Nagomi as pointed out by foreignmuck) but in all honesty it will not blow your mind by any imagination.

Thanks for your brave attempt at conquering the ubiquitous "authentic" Japanese restaurants. As a Londoner, I'm actually quite ashamed that you subject yourself to the thing we call ramen. Hopefully one day, a truly decent ramen specialist surfaces itself and educate the European palate on what they have been missing.

May 05, 2010
london_rover in U.K./Ireland

Pho reccomendation

Thanks Samuel. How does this compare to the usual Kingsland Road haunts like Song Que?

May 05, 2010
london_rover in U.K./Ireland

Meat Yazawa at gotanda, any good??

Do try the "sauteed mushroom" starter as well! (teppanyaki style cooked in butter - AMAZING)

Apr 14, 2010
london_rover in Japan

Meat Yazawa at gotanda, any good??

Just came back from a 10-day Tokyo foodie trip. Meat Yazawa was on the list and didn't disappoint. Value for money for the quality of beef you get there. Highly recommended!

Wish I was back in Tokyo...

Apr 14, 2010
london_rover in Japan

Going to Tokyo. Need some recommendations.

Ken - hope you had a good trip.
As I will be heading over to Tokyo myself very soon on a foodie trip, I'll be very interested to know where you ended up going and your (brief) reviews on them.
Perhaps you have a blog of some sort where hopefully you documented your culinary adventures?

cheers

Mar 08, 2010
london_rover in Japan

Donzoko, Kingly Street, London - be warned!!

I'm not a frequent poster however as a foodie, I feel the obligation to warn fellow hounds about this place.

Having read mixed reviews from the net, I visited Donzoko with excitement and a tinge of trepidation. Upon entering, the Japanese lady owner who greeted us was unfriendly (I was forewarned of her unfriendliness so I wasn't exactly surprised by this). Taking a look around the dining area: the sushi master was working skilfully behind the sushi counter, the walls were decorated with an extensive list of izakaya dishes written on wooden boards, an oden broth was brewing at a corner, and more than 50% Japanese clientele - this place exudes authenticity and looked more promising by the minute. Nothing could have prepared me for what followed on from there.

We ordered Uni (listed as a special of the day) and Kurodai (black sea bream) sushi. The uni was anything but fresh and had an extremely bad aftertaste. Good Uni brings me to heaven but I honestly will not wish bad Uni on anybody - not even my worst enemy. And they had the audacity to charge premium price (£4.20 per piece) for it!! Kurodai was decent but quite frankly, after the bad uni, we had already got off to a bad start - I couldn't get over the fact that it was listed as a "special" of the day.

We then had a few usual dishes like Agedashi Tofu and Nasu Dengaku (aubergine miso) which were mediocre and nothing worth shouting about. The latter was decorated with white miso (as expected) but also shichimi (seven spice) and seaweed flakes (as you would see in okonomiyaki) which was not a bad touch but they should have listed it in the description. My fellow diner couldn't take spicy food (shame, I know) and despite being a big fan of Nasu Dengaku, only took a couple of bites of it.

Saba shio (grilled salted mackerel) followed and as soon as the dish was brought to our table, we could smell the fishiness of the mackerel and it will not take a rocket scientist to figure that the saba was not fresh (most definitely frozen for a very long time...). I didn't even bother eating it although my dining partner bravely conquered a quarter of it before she gave up.

As the menu had an extensive list of Yakitori dishes, I didn't hesitate to order pretty much most of the items listed (chicken thigh, skin, tail, wing, heart, gizzard), hoping (just hoping) that I may have found my answer to satisfying my yakitori cravings in London. They were all underseasoned and some of the chicken pieces were pink and undercooked!!! The heart and gizzards tasted stale as if they belonged to chickens that were slaughtered a month ago, and like the saba, seemed to be grilled straight from the freezer.

We finished off with an ending dish of Tempura Udon. The tempura, to be fair, was probably the most decent thing we had the whole night. But the udon had an aftertaste of burnt plastic and the soup broth tasted like it came straight from one of those bottles you'd buy from a Japanese supermarket.

Suffice to say we only ate half of what we ordered and a lot of dishes were sent back to the kitchen half eaten. The waitress looked slightly hesitant to take the half-eaten dishes away but didn't bother asking if the food was ok. She was more interested in going home (at 10pm sharp) and had already changed into her civilian clothes although there were 4 other tables left.

Some might probably wonder why we didn't make our displeasure known. But when you have the most unfriendly Japanese lady I've ever met giving you dagger looks, waitresses who are more interested in leaving on time, the last thing I needed was battling with them in English and justifying my thoughts. We just wanted to get out of there asap and we left £75 poorer (without paying service charge) and extremely unsatisfied.

You have been warned…

Dec 14, 2009
london_rover in U.K./Ireland

White truffle season - restaurants in London?

Hi all. I was wondering given that it is white truffle season at the moment, whether anybody tried any restaurants that have a special white truffle menu? I seem to recall Zafferano having one a couple of years back but they don't seem to have one this time round when I looked at their website.

I've only found one so far at Alba Ristorante (Whitecross Street) http://www.albarestaurant.com/menu/tr..., which is a fantastic and authentic italian restaurant in its own right. Have yet to try this, but was wondering if there are other options available.

I noticed that there might be a recurring Italian theme here (not surprising!) but I'm referring to all types of cuisine in general.

Any recommendations will be appreciated!

Nov 19, 2009
london_rover in U.K./Ireland

[London] ramen ramen ramen

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.

Jul 30, 2009
london_rover in U.K./Ireland

Calling London Sushi Buffs

In my attempt to revive this thread (because sushi is worth it), I'm surprised that Yumi at George Street (W1) has not been mentioned yet. It's one of the more authentic Japanese places in London that I've been to, and serves great sashimi/sushi and izakaya classics.

As with some other restaurants that are mentioned, there is a separate Japanese menu with a lot more options (damn) but the waitresses will be more than happy to assist in recommendations. Other sashimi/sushi, inaniwa udon (cold) and yuzu sorbet are must-trys.

P.S. fresh wasabi is available on request

Apr 30, 2009
london_rover in U.K./Ireland