Tonkotsu East, Hackney - Review
Tonkotsu East brings the ramen revolution to Hackney!
It's somewhat ironic that sushi – a dish that is about as suited to our dreary climate as a pair of suede loafers in a puddle – is the Japanese culinary import that has ingrained itself into our everyday lives. With its savoury flavours, hearty noodle base and warming broth, it's actually Ramen that is the perfect antidote to the wet and windy British weather. It's often a nutritious meal too and one that millions of Japanese will attest to as being the reason they live so long!
Thankfully, the popularity for ramen has grown rapidly and the burgeoning scene now comprises a number of restaurants all providing their unique take on the dish. For example, diehard carnivores can visit Bone Daddies where they'll be met with a broth so intensely meaty that they'll risk a food coma by their third bite; alternatively, there's also Shoryu Ramen that claims to offer the most authentic experience.
However, the ramen joint that's probably most suited to Londoners is Tonkotsu. Having already conquered Soho with the first Tonkotsu restaurant, Emma Reynolds and Ken Yamada (of Tsuru restaurants fame) have come to East London for their second outpost. Located in a former mechanic's yard, the venue features lovingly restored back to bare brickwork, an open kitchen and a bar area to grab a few artisan Japanese beers and whiskies.
The menu offers a delicious selection of karaage (fried chicken or seafood) and gyoza, but it's the ramen dishes that really shine. Bursting with flavour and fresh ingredients, most of the ramen at Tonkotsu is made from a stock of pork and chicken or veg instead of just super-rich pork, so you can enjoy a bowl without the need for a nap half way through your meal! Our favourite is the Tokyo Ramen featuring a soy sauce base, pork and chicken stock and medium thick noodles topped with mirin, melting soy marinated pork belly, half a seasoned soft-boiled egg, menma and uplifting spring onions. All this for £9 and you've got yourself one of London's best value meals!
Food: 4/5 Venue: 3/5
Cuisine type: Japanese Meal for two (excluding drinks): £25 Beer: £4 Wine: £16/bottle
Tonkotsu East Arch 334 1a Dunston St London E8 4EB Tel: 020 7254 2478 www.tonkotsu.co.uk
Tonkotsu Bar & Ramen Soho 63 Dean Street London W1D 4QG Tel: 020 7437 0071 www.tonkotsu.co.uk