Udon and Ramen done right are still pretty rare round these parts, but times they are a changin’. If we’re not careful, this is going to get out of control. Sure, Wagamama forged a path but lately we’ve seen a whole host of organised (big scale) pan-asian offers opening including Yo Sushi (and there’s a lot of Yo’s right!) and East Street (great design). Noodle House (from Jumeirah) are eyeing a role out too. These guys are liking the 80% gross profit, and why not.
But thats not the focus, thank god. Koya in Soho have led the artisan small batch gang and its these craftsman that are rejuvenating the category with incredible flavours, freshness and its an ‘in’ on the rest of those gorgeous Japanese treats.. particularly gyoza and tempura.. Koya Bar just opened next door. Tonkotsu in Dean Street have a short menu along with various whiskies and Japanese craft beers (site #2 in Haggerston) Bone Daddies ramen bar finally reached the old Melati site on Peter St, Soho courtesy of Ross Shonhan, former Zuma & Nobu Head Chef which has a little more rock n roll (and check out Flesh & Buns their #2) and Shoryu Ramen has found its way to Regent St and is spreading out too. All queue out most nights.
And guess what (no suprise) this is a carbon copy of the New York ramen trend which was itself invigorated by a host of new entrants a couple of years back and it hasn’t stopped. But thats not for now. Shabu Shabu will just have to wait its turn. Keep your eyes out for non-traditional, lower-carb variants such as spaghetti squash noodles. And the trickle down into the mass-market, in terms of flavour and connoisseurship is what makes this interesting