25 June 2015
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.