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This third Tonkotsu site brings ramen noodles, gyoza and a burst of vitality to a decidedly weary-looking patch of Hackney. A sleek and simple entrance bar leads to a narrow, corridor-like dining room decorated with frenetic manga images and a proudly displayed noodle machine: ‘if you don’t make your own noodles you’re just a soup shop’, according to Tonkotsu’s livery. While the slogans are strong, the end result isn’t always as robust: our Mare Street signature seafood ramen brimmed with ingredients, but the all-important broth was lacking depth of flavour. Sides of meltingly soft and gooey pork belly okonomiyaki pancake, or plump gyozas with shiitake and bamboo, were much better. The bar takes its business seriously with a wide range of cocktails, Japanese whiskies and passionate staff to match. Despite a few shortcomings, this outlet is an asset for the area and ideal for a casual drink.
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