Sunday, 11 November 2012

Tonkotsu - souped-up super noodles in Soho - Nov 2012

A year or so ago, a place called Koya opened in Soho. It's a stripped back little place with a sparse menu focussed on their highly revered house noodles, a few dumplings and the odd daily special. It's good, very good, and used to be a real favourite for lunch when I worked locally.

Ramen noodle bars are a pretty big deal in similarly multicultural New York, their equivalent of the recent London burger explosion. However unlike other ultra-successful food trends here it seemed to start, and stop with Koya. The queues, growing nightly out of the blue curtain swagged door told any chancy restaurateur that this could be the start of something big. It's taken a while, but it seems that there are a few others springing up now. A caveat at this point, it could be that there are a load of decent noodle places around that I don't know about, so if you have any other recommendations, drop me a note.

I have to say that Ittenbari didn't wow me as much as Twitter told me it would, the slow braised pork slices were strangely flavourless, though the snaking queues of silently anticipatory Japanese expats gave some clue to the popularity of the place. The most recent to open, the chillingly named Bone Daddy, is on the list.

In essence, it's simple. Pick your base stock and key ingredient, add extra noodles or soft boiled egg if you will and serve. This simplicity is what for some can elevate the humble ramen noodle dish to an art form.

Here the soft egg was burnished bronze perfection, lightly gelatinous white leaking golden savoury depth into the clear stock, thickening and enriching almost like butter. The noodles were perfectly cooked with a slight snap to them (though I'm no expert on the subject) and sank into the life giving, clear and umami packed stock. With expertly crisped chicken karaage alongside, it's a simple, satisfying and savoury lunch.


Tonkotsu on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. That doesn't look like the Tonkotsu I'm used to - the pork tonkotsu has a milky, almost creamy broth. Did you have a different soup base?