If this Autumnal weather calls for one thing, it’s a hearty, warming meal. When it’s pissing it down with rain outside, there’s nothing better than people watching with a big, warm bowl of steaming ramen. Rather unsurprisingly, that’s exactly what Kanada-Ya on the corner of St. Giles delivered this lunch time.
The tiny outpost, which has actually be open for a little over two years now and sits opposite the rather soulless Ippudo, delivers some of the best and as I’m reliably informed by a number Japanese friends, authentic, ramen in London.
We start with truffled edamame beans to whet the appetite. The perfect amount of saltiness, which when washed down with a beer feels very much like the Asian equivalent of salted peanuts, with quite a strong hint of truffle. Great if you’re a big fan of the truffle trend, however personally there was little too much for my taste – next time I’ll stick to the salted.
Next up, the main event, two large bowls of steamy, porky goodness. For me, the classic Tonkotsu – perfectly cooked noodles just on the first side of firm, tender pork, heaps of wood-ear mushrooms, spring onions and nori, with the most mouth-watering creamy broth. And it’s the broth that makes it. ramen can so often be let down by a watery, pretty flavourless broth, but this is anything but. The balance of creaminess, meatiness from the pork, and umami is perfect. So much so I could slurp up just a bowl of that alone.
My dining partner opted for the Gekikara, which featured a deeper red, spicy broth, with a mountain of ‘tan-tan’ style minced pork. For spice lovers, this is heaven in a bowl. The same creamy, salty broth, but with a punchy after hit of spice, this is enough to convince anyone that when done well, spice is fantastic.
To go with our ramen, we also shared the karaage – tender bits of fried chicken – think a Japanese version of KFC, just *much* better – served with a side of house-made mayo and a wedge of lime, the meat was tender, juicy, and packed full of flavour.
Getting a table at the St. Giles branch can be a little tricky. As is the London trend, there’s no reservations, but it’s worth the 20 or so minute queue on a lunch time when you fancy a good feed. You’ll come away feeling satisfied, but also wanting to go back for more.
64 St Giles High Street