Tag Archives: Noodle soup

Shoryu (昇龍) Ramen @ Lower Regent Street

Shoryu (昇龍) Ramen @ Lower Regent StreetShoryu (昇龍) Ramen @ Lower Regent Street

今、ロンドンではラーメンがトレンディ、中でも豚骨ラーメンが人気のようだ。以前書いたTonkotsuに続き、最近オープンした2店・Shoryu(昇龍)Bone Daddiesはメディアから高い評価を得、また回転寿司チェーン・Yo! Sushiヨー!スシ)でもラーメンがメニューに加わった。寿司屋がラーメンとは何事かとは思うが、まあそこはイギリス。で、昇龍とBone Daddiesの2店で2回ずつラーメンを食べてみた。今日は昇龍、明日はBone Daddiesについて、私なりの感想を書きます。

11月24日にピカデリー・サーカスの少し南にオープンした博多ラーメンの店・昇龍は、向かいにある日本食スーパー・Japan Centre(通称ジャパセン)の系列。むき出しのレンガ壁やユニークな形のランプシェードなど、従来のラーメン屋のイメージを覆すモダンな内装で、店のロゴもなかなか洒落ている。正式開店の前にしばらく半額セールをやっていたので、FacebookなどのSNSや口コミで、かなり美味しいらしいとオープン前から在英日本人の間ではかなり話題になっていた。

メニューには、通常の博多風とんこつだけでなく、味噌を加えた昇龍とんこつや、わさび、高菜、ゆず胡椒を加えたもの、またPiri Piriとんこつというかなり辛い一品と色々なレパートリーがあり、東京風醤油や札幌味噌ラーメン、また餃子や枝豆等のサイドディッシュもある。博多出身のシェフが作る豚骨ラーメンは、ちょっともやしが多すぎるのがもやし嫌いの私には難点だけれど、スープは旨味があり、見た目よりさっぱりしていて、お腹にもたれず美味しい。ただPiri Piriは私には辛過ぎて、お水をいくら飲んでも口の中から辛さが取れず、汗だくになってしまったので、辛いものが苦手な方はご注意を。

たまたまシェフが誰かと話しているのを盗み聞きしてしまったのだが、彼はラーメン作りにかなりこだわりがあるらしく、麺は最初に使っていた麺が気に入らず、日本の東洋製麺(と言っていたと思うが)から取り寄せたものに変え、麺を茹でる機械も最初の物がこれまた気に入らず、2千ポンドもする新しい機械を買い直したという。

日本の行列ができるラーメン店とまではいかないけれど、イギリスで美味しいラーメンが食べられるなんて、大袈裟に聞こえるかもしれないけれど、ここに来た10年前は思いもよらなかった。日本食ブーム様々だ。

Japanese street food, “ramen” noodle soup now has become a new big thing in London, especially ‘tonkotsu (it means pork bones in Japanese)’ ramen, among other kinds such as miso, shoyu (soy sauce base), or shio (salt in Japanese). After Tonkotsu, which I wrote in the past, two new places, Shoryu (rising dragon in Japanese) and Bone Daddies, have opened recently and received good reviews from UK media. Even the sushi chain YO! Sushi using the Japanese style ‘kaiten’ conveyor belt, has included ramen on their menu lately. I tried Shoryu and Bone Daddies twice each and would like to compare them – today Shoryu, and tomorrow Bone Daddies.

Shoryu ramen, specialising in Hakata ramen or Tonkotsu ramen, is opened on Nov 24th by Japan Centre, a Japanese food store across the street near Picadilly Circus. They had half price campaign for a while before its grand-opening, and good comments about their ramen has been spread among Japanese in London via Facebook or by word of mouth. Shoryu’s modern interior such as bare brick walls and stylish lamp shades, doesn’t look like a typical ramen restaurant in Japan, which is often plain and shabby. In fact, ramen in Japan is sort of a fast food and cheap, costing normally not more than £7.

Their menu lists not only normal Hakata Tonkotsu but also a variation of Tonkotsu such as Shoryu Tonkotsu with a bit of miso, spicy Piri Piri, Wasabi, Takana (spicy pickled mustard greens), Yuzu citrus, as well as regional variations of Tokyo Shoyu (soy sauce base) and Sapporo Miso. They have also some side dishes such as Gyoza dumplings and Edamame soy beans.

Their Tonkotsu ramen, created by Hakata-born chef, was quite tasty and it was not heavy as it looked (Tonkotsu tend to be a bit thick and heavy), though there was a bit too much Moyashi bean sprouts on a top. However, if you don’t fancy spicy food, be careful with Piri Piri – it was very hot, at least to me, and I sweat so much while eating and had to drink a pint of water together to sooth my mouth.

I overheard the conversation between chef and someone, and he seems to be very enthusiastic about making a good ramen. He replaced previous noodles because he thought it was not good enough, and now uses noodles of his choice, imported from Japan. He was also dissatisfied with the machine to boil noodles and replaced this with new one that cost two thousand pounds.

I wouldn’t say that Shoryu is as excellent as the most popular ramen restaurants in Japan where people are willing to queue for hours to eat a bowl, but I’ve never thought that one day I would be able to eat decent ramen in UK, when I came to London 10 years ago. Bravo!

Shoryu (昇龍) Ramen @ Lower Regent StreetShoryu (昇龍) Ramen @ Lower Regent Street

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Pho Spitalfields @ Brushfield Street

フォーをはじめとするベトナムのストリートフードを出すレストラン、Phoに最初に行ったのは2005年、クラーケンウェルのSt John streetにオープンしたばかりの第一号店だった。その頃のロンドンのベトナム料理レストランと言えば、安っぽくセンスのない装飾のところばかりで、このPhoが、その後誕生するおしゃれなベトナム・レストランの走りだったと思う。そのPhoは現在、ロンドンに6店舗、ブライトンに1店舗を持つまでに成長した。

今日、このミニチェーンの新しい支店、Pho Spitalfields店に行ってきた。ベトナム料理店の居並ぶ「Phở Mile」と呼ばれるKingsland Streetから遠くはないけれど、Old Spitalfields Marketの向かいでリバプールストリート駅から徒歩数分という地の利、そして周りに競合店がないこともあり、エスニックフードを好む若者やヘルシー志向のシティのビジネスマン相手で、この店はまず安泰だろう。

中は少し薄暗い気もするけれど、木を多用した、温かみがあるナチュラルでモダンな内装に、雰囲気のあるレンガ壁やタイル壁はなかなか素敵。壁にかけられた、けばけばしい「Pho」のネオンサインだけがちょっとミスマッチな感じ。

フォーをはじめ少数のベトナム風ストリートフードに絞ったPhoのメニューは、他のベトナミーズよりシンプル。麺料理が多く、しっかり食べる晩ご飯というよりは、ランチの方がいいかもしれない。ウェブサイトによると、全ての料理は、毎日配達される新鮮で質の良い材料を使った手作りだそうだ。この日私たちが頼んだのは以下の通り。

First time we went to Pho Vietnamese restaurant was just after opening of their first venue in 2005 on St John street in Clerkenwell. We were quite excited when we found this cute place – at that time, most of the Vietnamese restaurants in London were shabby and cheaply decorated, and Pho is the first contemporary Vietnamese eatery we had seen here. Since then, Pho, focusing on Vietnamese street food, especially Phở noodle soup as the name suggests, has expanded and now have 6 restaurants in London and one in Brighton.

Today we tried their latest addition, Pho Spitalfields on Brushfield Street, just across the Old Spitalfields Market and few minutes walk from Liverpool Street station. It’s not far away from famous “Phở Mile,” but Pho has a geographical advantage of being close to those busy areas and has no strong competitors around. With their established reputation, I am sure they won’t fail there.

A bit dark inside, but nicely furnished natural and warm with everything wood as well as bare brick and white tiled walls. Everything nice, except cheesy “Pho” neon sign on the wall (in the 6th photo) which is not necessary to me.

Pho has rather simple menu, focusing on a small number of Vietnamese street foods, strictly Vietnamese and no Chinese dishes. It’s a big plus for me as “focus on one cuisine and don’t mix with others” is very important when I look for an oriental restaurant. At Pho, everything is made in-house from the high quality ingredients delivered daily, using authentic recipes, according to their website. Very important, too. Photos below are what we ordered.

Goi Cuon Tom(海老とハーブ入り生春巻き £4.45)とCha Gio(豚の春巻き £4.75)。上のフィッシュソースかピーナッツソースを選べる。生春巻きはあまり味がなく、揚げ春巻きも豚肉の味がせず物足りない。2品とも、通いたくなるような美味しさはなし。

Goi Cuon Tom (fresh summer rolls with prawns and fresh herbs, £4.45) and Cha Gio (fried pork spring rolls £4.75) with Nuoc cham fish sauce or peanut sauce. The summer rolls was bland and didn’t have much taste, and same to the spring rolls, as I didn’t taste pork and lacked wow-factor. I felt like something was missing from both dishes, and I wasn’t impressed.

Pho Tai Bo Vien(薄切り牛肉と肉団子入りフォー £7.95)と Pho Tai Chin(薄切り牛肉とブリスケット入りフォー £7.95)。フォーを売りにしているだけあって、フォーはなかなかの味。お肉は柔らかく、肉骨とスパイスを煮込んで出汁を取ったスープは旨味があり、添加物などの変な後味も残らない。

Pho Tai Bo Vien with steak, meatballs (£7.95) and Pho Tai Chin with steak and brisket (£7.95). Their signature dish Pho was quite nice. The meat was tender, and their broth, which I believe that they make proper stock from beef bones and spices, was flavourful without any nasty aftertaste of additives or MSGs.

Ca Phe(コンデンスミルク入りベトナム風コーヒー £2.25)。コンデンスミルク入りかブラックか選べるが、やっぱりコンデンスミルク入りが美味しい。コーヒーを淹れるためのステンレスのカップが、ガラスのカップの上に載って出てくるのも、何だか可愛い。

Ca Phe Vietnamese coffee (£2.25). Can be served with or without condensed milk, but definitely better with it. The presentation of “cup on top of a cup” was cute.

1階フロア。スタッフは皆フレンドリーで、サービスもいい。

Ground floor. The floor staffs were friendly and the service was excellent.

イートイン・テーブルとテークアウト用カウンターがある2階フロア。

Upper floor for more tables and takeaway counter.

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

Banh Mi Bay Vietnamese Baguettes and Pho Café @ Clerkenwell

先日バスに乗ってる時に見かけた、クラーケンウェルに最近オープンしたベトナム・カフェ、Banh Mi Bay(バンミー・ベイ)に行ってみた。インテリアが素敵でカジュアルなベトナム・カフェは、ロンドンではあまり見かけないので、バンミー・ベイのオープンは嬉しい。その名の通り、バゲットに肉、キュウリやチリ、ハーブなどを挟んだベトナム風サンドイッチ、バインミーもあるるけれど、それ以外にもフォーBánh canhの麺類、Bún(ブン)と呼ばれる麺を使ったサラダ、ご飯の上に串焼きの肉類などをのせたCom Dia、生春巻きや春巻き、そしてデザートなど、他のメニューも豊富。

ベトナム・レストランに行った時はいつもフォーを頼むんだけれど、今日は初めてBánh canh Thit Heo(£6。写真手前)にトライしてみた。豚からとったスープに、米粉やタピオカ粉、または小麦粉を混ぜて作った、半透明でモチモチした食感の太麺と、トッピングの豚肉とカニ肉が入っている。正直、この太麺はあんまり好みではないけれど、スープはコクがあるけれどもさっぱりしていて美味しい。サイドディッシュの生春巻き(£3.50)は、通常の材料以外にスライスした豚肉が入っていて、その塩味が隠し味となって、なかなかいける。でも個人的には、ピーナッツの入った海鮮醤(HOISIN SAUCE。中国の甘味噌)のたれより、魚醤のほうがさっぱりしていて好きなんだけれども。食後は、コンデンスミルクのたっぷり入ったベトナム風アイスコーヒー。カロリー高そうだけれど、やっぱり美味しい。

Banh Mi Bay * 4-6 Theobalds Road, Holborn, London WC1X 8PN * tel 020 7831 4079 * nearest Tube: Holborn | Chancery Lane

We went to Banh Mi Bay, newly opened Vietnamese café in Clerkenwell. I found the café when I was looking outside in the bus. It is hard to find a cute and casual Vietnamese in London, and the opening of Banh Mi Bay is welcome for us. As the name suggests, Bánh mì, a Vietnamese baguette sandwich, is their specialty, but also a variety of dishes like Phở and Bánh canh noodle soup, Bún rice vermicelli noodle salad, Com Dia (steamed rice served with meat of your choice or tofu), and a selection of appetizers such as summer rolls and spring rolls are also available, as well as deserts.

I always order Phở every time I go to a Vietnamese, but today I tried Bánh canh Thit Heo (£6, left in the photo below) for the first time. Bánh canh is half-transparent thick Vietnamese noodle that can be made from a mixture of purified rice and tapioca powder or wheat flour, and their Bánh canh is in light pork broth, with pork shoulder and some crab meat on the top (front in the photo below). I am not a big fan of the glutinous noodle, but the soup had good flavor and was quite nice. We got summer rolls as a side, and their summer rolls are made of sliced pork as well as usual ingredients inside, and it adds extra nice savory taste to the dish. But I don’t fancy thick and sweet Hoisin sauce, and I wish I had the summer rolls with fish sauce instead. The Vietnamese iced coffee with plenty of condensed milk after the meal was tasty (of course because it was sweet!), though probably very high in calories.

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