Ramen, eh? This year’s burger or what? To be fair, that is an all too easy and not that fair statement to make. Since January there have been 4 dedicated ramen places that have opened; 2 in the last month. The first recent opening was Bone Daddies in Soho; the second Shoryu, on Lower Regent St just past Picadilly Circus. I will try to get to Shoryu on my next post if the combination of Winter, heating and pudding in front of the TV don’t overtake me, first!
Lunch on a Saturday meant a cocktail was probably not the best idea. Orange juice, passionfruit and mint was sweet and refreshing, and much more interesting than the standard coke as a non-alcoholic option. BD’s actually has pretty good drinks menu, a couple of sweet sake options that I definitely want to head back try, and there are even some Japanese whiskies on offer.
I am a massive sucker for condiments on the table. Doesn’t matter what it is; if it’s on the table it goes in my food. My obsession with condiments goes so far that I’ve been caught at Byron checking sauce levels of mustard and ketchup and subsequently switching bottles with nearby empty tables if the I don’t think there is enough to get me through the meal. Bone Daddies offers something different I’ve never seen before – a sesame seed grinder and a garlic press and pickled garlic cloves for extra flavour. Shockingly, I was so entrance by the ramen and how full of flavour it was, I forgot to use either.
I love fried chicken and by all accounts BD’s do awesome fried chicken, but I didn’t think I could get through both ramen and a plate of chicken, so I sashimi it is. I love the presentation of the sashimi on sticks, and even more so love the chopped shiso leaf on top, and the crunchy puffed rice for texture.
8 options of ramen, including one salad option that has no broth. The Sweet 3 Miso Ramen caught my eye, but ultimately I had to go for the T22.
I love that a whole egg is standard with a ramen order. At Tonkotsu, only ½ egg is given. I went for extra toppings of corn and a fat pipette (!). The corn had visible scorch marks from being grilled and adding smokiness. Now to discuss the thing that will inevitably be the talking point about BD’s – the fat pipette. Literally a plastic pipette (where the heck do you find these in bulk!?!) filled with chicken fat drippings; the idea is to squeeze the contents into your ramen for added richness. Is it worth adding to your order? Well, for 50p, yes, if at least once to try. At various times, scooping up spoons of broth, you could taste the fat pipette, but I don’t think you’re missing anything out in not ordering one. Very good broth, decent noodles, and the idea of cooking chicken skin until it’s crispy and sprinkling it over the ramen? Genius.
It should be noted that these pics were taken over the soft opening weekend when BD’s were doing 50% off. Yes – I am that slow at posting (BD’s opened about a month ago), however I did head back once they were properly opened for more ramen. No photos from the 2nd visit as BD’s is ridiculously dark at night. The atmosphere also seemed to get ramped up at night, along with the music and it seems BD’s will be yet another great place in Soho where I will enjoy consuming a silly number of cocktails and gorging myself on the food. For what it’s worth, I had the Tantanmen – a smooth peanutty broth that had a decent kick of chilli that built up as I worked my way through the bowl, topped with pork mince.
I think out of the ramen offerings to open up so far in London, BD’s by far and away has the best atmosphere and vibe. The toppings and ramen are maybe a bit less traditional and liberties are taken with the ‘authenticity’ but it is all so well executed, I don’t really care! BD’s is fun, tasty and good value – and if you don’t believe me and need more proof, then the 5 Japanese business men lined up against the wall, patiently waiting their turn for a table should suffice as the proof you need.
UPDATE: On a 3rd visit, I opted for the Tonkotsu. The broth was creamy and fatty, the slices of pork had a decent amount of fat to them. All up a very good bowl of ramen. I prefer the slightly cleaner flavour to the T22, but still very pleasing.