Tag Archives: Tsuru

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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