Along with phở, goulash, laksa, or bouillabaisse, Ramen is one of our favourites meal-soups in the world. This creamy, thick, and flavourful broth is an absolute winner of our hearts, and quite frankly the most effective medicine against serious hangovers.
True Japanese Ramen is certainly a remarkable food craft. Japan is scattered with ramen joints, usually tiny places where less than a dozen eaters can fit at a time. Every ramen chef has its own unique recipe kept jealously over generations, which makes each bowl of ramen truly unique. Everything is made from scratch, the noodles, the soup, and the chashu (pork slices). To really understand the depth ramen virtuosity, we can only recommend the classic movie “Tampopo”, an extract of which is posted here:
If you don’t eat pork or only had the instant just-add-hot-water ramen noodles, then I’m afraid you never really tasted ramen.
To help you sort it out and avoid an unfair “oh, well, I thought ramen would be better”, we tested and compiled the list of our favourite ramen joints in central London, where you can find a bowl of authentic ramen (not listed in order of preference). If there are some we haven’t tried yet, please share your recommendations in the comments section below!
Not the prettiest location, it is definitely worth a shot because Taro doesn’t come with long, long queues like the other hip ramen joints in town. We tried the basic tonkotsu ramen and shoyu ramen, and some gyoza. They were good and remembered us about the usual ramen places you would find anywhere in Japan. The cooks were Japanese, too.
Extra: Gyoza were very good. Karaoke room blasting J-Pop hidden near the bathroom. No queue.
Another great joint located in Soho (and a few other branches across London), with excellent stuff. We had tonkotsu which was good, but their shoyu ramen (Tokyo style) was an absolute winner, really delicious and well-rounded. Definitely the best shoyu ramen we had in London. The noodles are made in the shop daily, and they were excellent. The gyoza were nice and crispy.
TOP: excellent beer list with London favourites (Beavertown, The Kernel). Their shoyu ramen was amazing. Real garlic to crush in your soup.
63 Dean Street, London, W1D 4QG, (Facebook – Twitter)
Excellent quality, the tonkotsu was definitely a win, full of flavour. They had quite a creative list of fun (but not so authentic) creations, like the Dracula ramen (with black garlic) or green tea noodles. We picked their sapporo Miso Ramen and Shoryu Ganso Tonkotsu, both delicious and authentic.
TOP: Large choice from classic to quite experimental (Dracula ramen with black garlic anyone?) You can choose the firmness of the ramen. Real garlic to crush in your soup.
Shoryu, 3 Denman Street London W1D 7HA (Facebook – Twitter)
We went there at 6 pm on a Friday evening to avoid the massive queues. As they don’t do gyoza, we started straight with ramen. We tried the classic tonkotsu, really creamy, loads of flavours, complex, with strong shiitake hints in the broth to bring out every ounce of umami. The spicy one was pure gold, even more flavourful, tasty, and funky.
TOP: loads of flavour, decent portions. More than decent sake list. Cool dudes serving. Real garlic to crush in your soup.
Bone Daddies, 31 Peter St, London W1F 0AR, United Kingdom (Facebook – Twitter)
We didn’t hear much about this place online, no raving reviews on social networks with the hour long queue outside, nothing. But we had to try it because we smelled authentic Japanese food from miles away. And it is great, their food is absolutely authentic, delicious, and fresh. They had an impressive list of Ramen, from classic shoyu or miso ramen, to the omnipresent tonkotsu & spicy (spicy with minced meat).
TOP: Almost the whole staff was Japanese. Authentic & delish soups, lovely selection of Japanese izakaya classics.
Cocoro, 25 Coptic Street, London WC1A 1NT