On Panton Street sits Kanada-Ya, a cosy authentic Japanese Ramen bar.
My love of Japanese food never seems to ends, so last year when I was invited to review Kanada-Ya ramen bar I quickly accepted. Kanada-Ya sits in the heart of Piccadilly and is a well-known ramen bar.
Upon arrival, I traditionally ordered a sake sampler, which one is supposed to consume from left to right, and the sakes became sweeter and stronger as I drank on. Firstly, was the ‘Jewel brocade’- (Dewazakura Omachi Junmai Ginjo). A premium chilled sake, which is extremely flavoured with honey and sweet rice. For me, it was extremely sweet but in a distinctive way. Second from the sampler was the ‘Heart of Oak’ (Tamagawa Junmai)- Which is a masterpiece made by the genius British sales master Philip Harper, it was nutty and deep Umami and is to be served at room temperature. For me, this was better than the Jewel Brocade, it was rich in sweetness but does not leave a bitter aftertaste. Finally, the Yuzu (Umenoyado Yuzu liqueur)- a refreshing Japanese and fruit sake. For me this was the best of all sakes, as the alcohol was prominent, but was sweet and cooling, this definitely was my favourite.
Although Kanada-Ya is predominately known for their Ramen, I was feeling extra hungry and thought I would try out some of their small plates. Karaage is Japanese fried chicken, served with mayo. I was pleasantly surprised with the first bite as the fried chicken is soft, supple and gently breaks off in the mouth. The chicken is well seasoned and full of flavour and is served in four pieces, although I only ended up eating one piece as the Karaage is quite filling.
I also tried the Kanada-Ya’s Aburi Chashu, which is seared Chashu pork belly with yakiniku tare. I am a big lover of pork; especially pork belly and I could not wait to try this! The pork belly melted in my mouth and the musky but sweet taste enhanced once dipped in the provided sauce. The only issue is that some of the pork pieces were hard.
I was advised to try the Tonkotsu X or Tonkotsu, which are the most popular Ramen choices at Kanada-Ya, however, I was coming down with a cold and the best way to cure a cold is with spice. Therefore, I chose the spicy Yuzu ramen; with spicy Yuzu, pork, corn-fed chicken broth, Chashu pork collar, wood ear fungus, seaweed and spring onion. The menu recommends choosing hard ramen noodles, so I went ahead with this recommendation I was worried about the wood ear fungus because I had no clue what ear fungus actually is, but all the ingredients in the dish worked well together. The ramen was full of flavour, as the taste of the spicy chicken broth has a potent taste, and is just the right amount of spice, which enabled me to still enjoy the dish. The seaweed added a more salty/savoury aftertaste to the ramen. I still had some Aburi Chashu left from my starters, so I added this to the ramen and let it soak in the broth, which aided in softening up the pork. I felt that there was not enough pork in the dish, but that is because I am a heavy meat eater, so I would advise adding extra meat as a topping.
After most of the content of the ramen was gone, I shamelessly sipped on the chicken broth, which was delicious and I do believe it aided in getting rid of my cold, which is a bonus! As it was my second time trying ramen, I really enjoyed this experience and I would love to go back and try the Tonkotsu X.
To refresh my palette I had a full large glass of Yuzu sake, which is very refreshing after the ramen. However, you are warned, for this sake is a silent creeper for the sake is so sweet that I did not realise the amount of alcohol I was consuming! Overall, this was a great experience for me as my second time eating ramen. Kanada-Ya is ideal if popping in on a lunch break from work, or casually eating with friends.
(However, the sakes can get pricey)
What to wear: Smart casual
(I wore a blazer, top and trainers)
Ambience: Cosy restaurant with knowledgeable staff