Did you know Koya on Frith St shuts at 3pm? If you’re not within those doors at exactly 3pm then you’re not eating that delicious Udon. I suffer from being polite to even the most hideous of tourists; refraining from pushing them out of the way, even when I know I’m racing the clock for Koya. As a result, we made it to Koya at precisely 2:40pm, however as misfortune would dictate there were at least 10 people in line ahead of us and we were told politely that there was no way we would get in before 3pm.
That is how we ended up at Tonkotsu. Let the record state that I am aware that Udon and ramen are not the same thing, but I was cranky and hungry and this was the closest substitute.
The menu is short and concise, made up of exactly 3 raman variations; tonkotsu, shoyu and miso. 5 pork and prawn gyoza, shared, to start. A bit pale in colour, but the pan-fried sides were crisp and pleasantly chewy.
Tonkotsu broth is made by boiling nothing buy pork bones in a giant vat of water until all the delicious pork-goodness leeches out of the bones and into the water. The gelatinous aspect of the bones also soaks into the water, creating a milky creamy broth. I opted for an extra ½ egg and I am so glad I did as it was my favourite part of the bowl. Look at the gloriously orange sticky yolk. The milky broth coated your mouth and was rich with pork. The noodles however weren’t great. They still retained a slight chew to them, but there was an underlying flouriness to them which I didn’t love.
I like that Tonkotsu has chosen to focus on only 3 things, allowing for the kitchen to focus on, and refine and perfect their menu. I don’t think Tonkotsu have quite reached the echelons of noodle greatness in London, but I haven’t completely written them off. Tonkotsu is good option for a quick and relatively cheap meal, it’s just more that given the choice between Koya and Tonkotstu, my preference would be towards to Koya.