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63 Dean Street
Tokyo has some 4,000 ramen-ya and London has barely more than a handful but, thanks to Tonkotsu, authentic ramen noodles are having a moment. This pint-sized joint has only a sliver of space on Dean Street to play with, so it has gone for a true Tokyo-meets-Soho experience (cramped surrounds, hard seats, no frills, no bookings and a minimal menu) – although the latter is what the customers really care about. The kitchen takes a few things and does them very well – from assorted takes on ramen involving pork belly, smoked haddock et al
to perky handmade gyoza and a handful of
sides including crunchy chicken karaage. Noodles and beer are happy bedfellows, so the drinks list focuses on hip craft brews and oriental imports – although you can also sip saké, shochu and Japanese whiskey too.
63 Dean Street
Tottenham Court Road Tube Station 283m
Leicester Square Tube Station 293m
Dean Street 19m
Old Compton Street 73m
Mon-Thurs 12N-3pm 5-10.30pm Fri-Sun 12N-10.30pm (Sun -10pm)
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 3
The house ramen is delicious, service is great - prices not fantastic but no worse than most places. Certainly deserves more than an average user rating of 3 stars.
So after attempting to try the highly acclaimed Ramen and in house made noodles at Tonkotsu numerous amounts of times, seeing the queue (just let me book will you?!), turning and walking off to find another suitable restaurant, I finally made it through the door. I decided to have a lettuce leaf for my lunch, which allowed me to head straight to the restaurant after finishing in the office in the hope of getting a seat, which I did. A plank of wood, a rulers length wide and a chair facing the wall.
I was meeting a friend that I haven't seen in months, I wanted to see her face, not the painted exposed brick wall so asked to move to a table that had just become free behind us. Apparently this was the worst possible thing I could do. From friendly service when entering, to just a bit ‘offish’ from then on. I am a paying customer and there was no queue at the door, I don't really see the problem.
I ordered one of many yummy beers from the menu and the Tonkotsu Ramen, when in Rome! The Ramen was lovely, as many people have said, you really can taste the difference from the watery, tasteless pre-made noodles to their almost wholewheat looking strings of loveliness. The thin slices of pork was melt in the mouth and the perfectly cooked egg slowly turns the stock from thin and watery (albeit tasty!) to thick and silky. I did however have a bit of food envy, my friend ordered the Tokyo Ramen… to die for.
By the end I needed to satisfy my sweet tooth so we ordered two tubs of ice-cream, one Vanilla and one salted caramel. Not particularly authentic but great! At £3.50 a pop you wonder if a bit of ice-cream is worth it, well it is. They definitely placated my sugar needs!
All in all, great evening, and nice food. But whatever you do, don't ask to swap to the uninhabited table. This kind of behavior appears to be frowned upon.
Food + drink: 4
In essence, it's simple. Pick your base stock and key ingredient, add extra noodles or soft boiled egg if you will and serve. This simplicity is what for some can elevate the humble ramen noodle dish to an art form.
Here the soft egg was burnished bronze perfection, lightly gelatinous white leaking golden savoury depth into the clear stock, thickening and enriching almost like butter. The noodles were perfectly cooked with a slight snap to them (though I'm no expert on the subject) and sank into the life giving, clear and umami packed stock. With expertly crisped chicken karaage alongside, it's a simple, satisfying and savoury lunch.
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