Applied Linguistics graduate and freelance writer. Visit my twitter: @heyclairemarie
Published December 6th 2016
Dean Street is fast becoming the go-to location for places to eat in London. Situated along this street are an assortment of restaurants and bars. An interesting recent addition is Tonkotsu, which specialises in making its own noodles. When my friend first took me inside into its dusky interior, I believed that the restaurant was a one- off, a hidden gem in the London streets. Not so, apparently, as Tonkotsu apparently has six venues across London (and one in Birmingham) and appears to have quite a following. Tonkotsu's ramen is made by simmering pork bones for two days, so the marrow trickles out to produce a creamy, flavoursome broth. Noodles, sliced pork, a boiled egg and some vegetable are then added to this broth. All this implies that Tonkotsu are intent on creating a ramen bar in London to equal those found in Tokyo.
Tonkotsu has a cool vibe, sexy, yet comforting. Customers sit on wooden benches, huddled together with fellow diners. Not great if you want a private chat, but excellent if you want to hang out on a Saturday night with friends. The dining room is small, more like a corridor than a restaurant. However, it felt cosy, a charming place to while away the hours.
The food is moderately priced for that part of London. My friend Layla recommended the Soho Ramen, which cost £11. It was deliciously salty with a rich fish taste (the noodles are placed on haddock), but not so much that the taste overpowered the food. There was also a large amount of it and I struggled to finish. This says a lot as I am not the type of person who has issues finishing a large plate of food. The ramen, although not the best I've ever tasted, was deeply satisfying, leaving a warm feeling in the belly.
Be warned that you will be expected to use chopsticks, fortunately Layla, who used to live in China, helped me to manage my noodles. There was a very tempting looking ice-cream sandwich being advertised for dessert, however this was something I had to skip in this instance. The gyoza looked appetising though, so next time I visit, I would like to try that.
Service was fairly fast and the server was polite enough. It wasn't exactly luxurious but then we didn't come to be waited on. Next time you fancy some ramen, skip Wagamamas and give Tonkotsu a try. Your stomach will thank you for it!