Tag Archives: ディーン・ストリート

Tonkotsu ‘Ramen’ Restaurant @ Dean Street, SOHO

日本食人気、イギリスのカジュアルレストランチェーン・Wagamamaのおかげで、ロンドンでも日本風ラーメンが普及、そこそこ美味しいラーメンが食べられる店が増えた。少し前にオープンした、イギリス系ラーメン屋・Tonkotsuもその一つ。在英日本人の間では、ソーホーのLittle Japan・Brewer Streetにある、大阪・堺の塩ラーメン専門店・龍旗信とタイアップした麺屋一点張が人気だが、味だけでなく店の雰囲気にもこだわるMは、内装より味で勝負の日本のラーメン屋の典型である一点張より、Tonkotsuの方が好きなのだ。

Tonkotsuは、ロンドンのミニ寿司チェーン・Tsuru(創業者3人のうち1人が日本人らしい名前)が今夏にオープンさせたラーメン店。あまり広くない店内は、木製の家具と日本の着物生地がかけられた黄土色の壁と、シンプルかつセンス良くまとめられている。メニューは、3種のラーメンと餃子、数種の小皿料理があるだけ。看板の豚骨ラーメンは、ちょっとヘビーだけれどなかなかコクがあって美味しい。ただし値段は£11(約1400円)と、日本の約2倍。しかしここは外国、しかも物価の高いロンドン、1000円以下でラーメンは食べられないのだ。

味は一点張の方が美味しいけれど、日本人以外の友人とちょっとお洒落にラーメンを楽しみたい場合に。Wagamamaよりはお薦めです。

Thanks to the popularity of Japanese cuisine and Wagamama, the British Asian restaurant chain, Japanese well-liked street food, ‘ramen‘ noodle has been more recognised in London than before. There are more restaurants serving decent ramen, and Tonkotsu is one of them. Among Japanese living in UK, Ittenbari on Brewer street (London’s “Little Japan”), receiving supervision from popular ramen restaurant “Ryukishin” in Osaka, is definitely more favored. However, M, who cares not only taste but also ambience of the place, prefers Tonkotsu, rather than a “hole in the wall” Ittenbari.

Tonkotsu is the latest venue of the Tsuru mini sushi bar chain, dedicated to ramen, just like the ones in Japan – ramen restaurants would never serve sushi or tempura, for your reference to distinguish authentic ramen restaurants from others. Tonkotsu is small, but its simple and modern decor with light wood furniture and earthy light brown wall with hanging gorgeous Kimono textiles is what we like about the place. Their simple menu lists only three kinds of ramen + and few side dishes, including Japanese style fried dumplings ‘gyoza‘ (it is quite common to eat gyoza together with ramen in Japan. See the photo at the bottom). This kind of simple menu is a normal practice in Japan as well. It seems that one of the three founders of Tsuru is Japanese, so he wouldn’t do any no-nos here. Their signature dish ‘tonkotsu (it means pork bones in Japanese)’ ramen was dense and a bit heavy, but it was quite nice and authentic. The tonkotsu ramen costs £11, which is more than double the average price of ramen in Japan, but we are in London and I am afraid it can’t come cheap.

The taste of ramen may be better at Ittenbari, but if you are on a date, go for Tonkotsu for better atmosphere. Ittenbari is a typical Japanese ramen restaurant, who care only about the taste but nothing else, like chippies in UK.

豚骨ラーメン £11(上はM用大盛り)/ Tonkotsu ramen £11 (the one above is the large portion for M)

豚餃子(£5=約630円)。味は普通だけど、値段の割に少なすぎ / pork ‘gyoza’ dumplings £5. Just average, and it is too small for its price for Japanese standard

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Cây Tre SOHO @ Dean Street

ロンドン東部で人気のベトナム料理店Cây Treが西進、ソーホーにもオープンした。オーナーのVietnamese Kitchen Groupは、ホクストンにある本店、ベトナミーズ・レストランが集まるKingsland Road(キングスランド・ロード)のViet Grill、そして最近本店の向かいにオープンした軽食・テークアウトのKêu! báhn mì deli(バインミー)と、ロンドン市内に4店を持つ。

Cây Tre SOHOは、広々として明るく、モダンなインテリアデザインと、従来の冴えないベトナム・レストランの常識を覆すおしゃれさ。でもソーホーという好立地に加え、内装にお金をかけているせいか、値段は他のグループ店に比べると割高。しかも、フォー£8.50(本店£6.50)、生春巻き£4.50(本店£3.50)、Com Saigon£9.50と、いい値段をとる割に量は少なく、キングスランド・ロード価格に慣れている身には不満が残る。グループ店も含め、味も人が絶賛するほど特段美味しいと思わないんだけれど。。。

それ以上にムカついたのは、昼過ぎで店内ガラガラにも関わらず、サービスが悪いこと。他店であれば10分もあれば出てくるフォーが、全部食べ終わっても出て来ない。完璧に忘れ去られていたようだが、文句を言ってもお詫びの言葉もなし。油汚れのついたお勘定の紙挟みもいただけない。

やっぱりベトナミーズはイースト・ロンドンで食べるのが一番だ。

Hoxton’s popular Vietnamese restaurant Cây Tre stretched its hand to the west; the Vietnamese Kitchen Group, the owner of Cây Tre as well as Viet Grill on Kingsland Road, London’s little Saigon, and recently opened Kêu! bánh mì deli, has opened a new venue in SOHO.

Cây Tre SOHO is spacious and cheerful, and its modern and stylish interior defies an image of conventional Vietnamese restaurants in London. But all these niceness, as well as its prime location of central London, cost us. Food are pricier than other sister restaurants: Phở £8.50 (Cây Tre Hoxton: £6.50); summer rolls £4.50 (Cây Tre Hoxton: £3.50); and Com Saigon £9.50, for example. Also the portion were quite small considering the high prices. Obviously value for money at the SOHO branch is unsatisfactory for people like me who are used to reasonable Kingsland Road prices. Though people seem to love the chain, I don’t think the taste of Cây Tre and other group restaurants is so better than other Vietnamese in Kingsland Road…

But the worst experience of the day was not the price or food, but its service. It was late afternoon and almost empty, as you can see in a photo, but M didn’t get his Phở even after I finished all my food an hour ago. Usually it doesn’t take more than 10 minutes to get a bowl of noodles in any places, so obviously the waiter forgot the order. We complained, but no proper apology came back. Also I don’t like that our bill was given inside a fancy paper cover with greasy stains.

I would believe that the best place to eat Vietnamese is the East, after my experience in Cây Tre SOHO…

ポークのグリルに目玉焼きとご飯がついたCom Saigon £9.50/ Com Saigon £9.50: grilled pork and shredded pork fillet, served with a fried egg and rice

薄切り生牛肉ののったフォー £8.50 / Phở with thin sliced raw beef £8.50