London is a city where diners are spoilt for choice. Whatever cuisine is fancied, it can be found. Ramen restaurants have been popping up all over, but this was the first time that I had the chance to try it. This was out of pure chance as originally my friend and I had decided to meet at Leon.
Just next door to Leon, Tonkotsu was spotted. It intrigued us with its sign of ramen. As there was no menu displayed on the outside, we had to venture inside to see what the food choices were.
The restaurant was empty and the staff did not mind us taking a few minutes to check out the menu. It was a no brainer decision to stay and have a ramen dinner.
Tonkotsu had enough lighting and had a minimalistic feeling to it. The restaurant was over two levels. Dark wooden furniture, long tables and tables by the window made up the spacious restaurant. A bar was at one end close to the kitchen.
With Tonkotsu and ramen, it’s all about the slow cooked broth and the homemade noodles. There are not many items on the menu but that makes it slightly easier to choose. After placing the order for the vegetarian mushroom ramen, a more interesting soup caught my eye. This was the braised pork belly Tokyo Ramen.
A big bowl of Tokyo Ramen was topped with spring onions. The thin noodles were homemade. Plenty of thick sliced pork belly and noodles with the chicken stock broth made it so moreish. The dish also came with seasoned egg and bamboo shoots. The sweet and salty flavours worked so well.
The classic and famous Tonkotsu Ramen was equally satisfying. The base for this dish was a 16 hour pork broth which was enriched with lardo. Roast pork belly, seasoned egg, noodles, bamboo shoots, bean sprouts and spring onions made up the hearty bowl of ramen. The Tonkotsu Ramen had a creamier broth due to the lardo.
Even though Tonkotsu got busier as the evening went on, it was not noisy. There remained a soft hum of happy diners having bowlfuls of ramen. The atmosphere was tranquil and the staff were not overpowering. They were friendly and attentive.
The opportunity for dessert meant that the Moochi Ice Cream Little Moons was had. Ice cream was encased in a glutinous rice flour coating. All of the flavours, Matcha Green Tea, Mango and Hazelnut, were delicious. The creamy ice cream interior is a contrast to the chewy shell of the moochi.
The ramen dinner at Tonkotsu was really enjoyable. The ramen is on a similar line to Vietnamese Pho but it has its differences. It was wonderful to try out another new cuisine and one that will be had again!
Tonkotsu, 4 Canvey Street, London, SE1 9AN