words: tomek mossakowski
Tonkotsu. Bless you!
This is the joke I use every time someone mentions Tonkotsu, the new, hip ramen shop that’s right in the middle of Soho.
What’s ramen? Japanese noodles in pork bone broth. Is it COOL? Yes. Why? Cos it’s delicious.
The menu is small: you can have 3 broths, traditional, spicy or one for vegetarians (bless them). On top of that, there’s gyoza (fried dumplings) and large cans of Asahi for £4. That’s about it.
The broth is excellent. Salty and deep with some beautifully delicate slices of pork, a floating soft boiled egg, crisp spring onions and other simple treasures hiding amidst the noodles.
Working your way through a bowl is where most of the fun’s at. Expect massive splashback and encouragement from all the staff, to slurp as much as poss – 80s porn style.
The front of house kitchen’s also a hoot. Three sweaty men working away, dropping well stretched noodles into bubbling broth. While queuing outside the door waiting for a table, which is likely, watching these guys will make you dribble. And antsy.
We even saw Andrew from the last series of Masterchef working there. Y’know, Andrew. The one who looks like a moomin. Who put strawberries where they don’t belong. No? OK, well appazza he’s there two days a week and he’s looking as moominy as ever.
The bill didn’t come to much: £20 a head for beer, dumplings and broth.
The food won’t completely blow your mind and if you’ve been to Japan you’ll find yourself pulling out a Granddad-style “ah, still doesn’t compare to that ramen we had that one time in Fukuoka…”
But hey-ho, this is London and probably the best ramen you’ll get in town.
Recommended for easy, quick post-work dinners in Central.
Tonktosu is on Dean Street.