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31 Peter Street
"Confidently residing at the delectable end of the fast-food spectrum", this high-energy ramen joint continues to win fans – despite cramped, canteen-like conditions and a no-bookings policy. Head honcho Ross Shonhan knows how to conjure a magic mix of addictive flavours ("bone broth plus plastic bib equals noodle bliss", assures one fan), so bag a stool at one of the communal benches for a "delicious bowl of goodness". Sustenance arrives "lightning quick", and there's no shame in slurping your way through the different flavours – perhaps spicy miso with Padrón peppers or ground chicken with lip-tingling spice. The soundtrack often comprises "one soft-rock abomination after another", but snacks of soft-shell crab in high-octane chilli and ginger sauce or "unctuous" chashu pork and corn croquettes will keep you distracted. Strong cocktails make use of tangy yuzu, while shochu, whisky and saké take no prisoners.
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31 Peter Street
020 7287 8581
Piccadilly Circus Tube Station 309m
Tottenham Court Road Tube Station 331m
Freedom Theatre 48m
Wardour Street 55m
Mon-Sun 12N-11.30pm (Mon -10pm, Tue-Wed -11pm, Sun -9.30pm)
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 4
Outside Bone Daddies is very basic and unremarkable. So too inside, where there's only a flurry of kitsch vintage snaps and clusters of sake bottles by way of decoration. The soundtrack is more dominant and consists of one soft-rock abomination after another - think muzak of the Journey ilk, suitable for lifts and Little Chefs circa the mid '80s. A baffling choice, but I’m willing to overlook it given the quality of the food.
Condiments aplenty line the worktops (chilli bean paste, fresh garlic cloves to grate, and a jar full of - what - liquorice hairbands?!) but the most important element of your little 'mise' is undoubtedly the plastic bib. Unless otherwise requested, food arrives when it's good and ready; in the case of ramen, that's lightning quick. The 20-hour pork bone broth has a milky, mellow flavour that soothes the tummy and the soul. Tantanmen, on the other hand, promises a satisfyingly fiery bowl of flavoursome ground chicken and lip-tingling spice.
Go hungry - most bowls contains a healthy portion of noodles and beansprouts along with a gooey, amber-yolked Clarence Court egg. Add extras like ‘cock scratchings’ TM (ahem) if you desire, but I’d be amazed to see someone polish off the lot.
Having already ordered a side of fried chicken we made a valiant effort to tuck in, without regret; it was sizzling, piquant and spot on. Croquettes had satisfying crunch, and an unctuous porky, corn melange within. All in all, a mighty enjoyable feed.
Drinks range from 'soft' but serious mocktails (balancing the likes of spritely yuzu and searingly sharp grapefruit for something more complex than your average pop) through to 'hard' (Asahi and Kernel beer or Orient-infused cocktails; wine doesn’t really get a look in) and finally 'harder' (Japanese whisky and a generous sake menu).
Don’t expect to hang around, apart from the inevitable queuing when you arrive; service is speedy, while the narrow benches and vertiginous stools aren’t conducive to lingering (or larger parties). However, Bone Daddies confidently resides at the delectable end of the fast food spectrum. I was further heartened to learn that bone broth may have a host of health merits (so ignoring the tiny globules of flavoursome fat that pool across its surface); apparently it is rich in collagen, imbuing it with anti-wrinkle properties. All the more reason to don the bib, slurp away and laugh contentedly as you age backwards with a full, contented belly.
Food + drink: 3
As a student in London in the 90s, my cheap eats choices in Soho were places like Pollo and Centrale serving up sturdy, unremarkable plates of pasta and stodge for a fiver. How things have changed: Bone Daddies is fresh and different and it's staffed with charming enthusiasts. The menu, decor and music combine to make it a Soho fixture already, especially amongst tourists who seemed to comprise about a third of the customers. Queueing is obligatory.
But as much fun as it is, to me this isn't a restaurant for grownups. It's a cafe or a bar with food and no more. Fine if that's what you're after but if I want to go out for dinner in Soho, it won't be here.
Food + drink: 5
You had better go now before the word gets out and you can’t get in!
We loved the food – the soft shelled crab followed by the Ramen noodles with ice cold beer! Also the leaves are a must – exquisite. The fabulous flavours make any comparison to any other Japanese inspired chain pointless, this is clearly the real deal and so a visit is essential.
Great atmosphere, loved the mixture of Beatles, AC/DC and Guns and Roses too, staff top. Very simple effective décor with a load of Japanese posters on one wall.
Ask about the Cock Scratchings! – it’s worth a cheesy knowing smile even if the answer is more Blumenthal than old school Soho
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