I am a recovering ramen addict. There. I said it.
I’ve always loved noodle soups (check out my Thai Chicken Noodle Soup recipe!), but once I got back from my trip to Japan last year, I think it’s fair to say that my ramen addiction hit new highs.
Before I quit my receptionist job earlier this year, I used to hit up my local Shoryu ramen branch at least once a fortnight, for a bowl of their delicious Kotteri Hakata tonkotsu. I’d call it my “payday treat” but I’d eat it all the time, so really, who was I fooling?
Now that I’m working from home though, I don’t go out as much, so I’ve not eaten ramen in 3 months. And guys, it’s been killing me.
So many people have told me that I should try the ramen at Kanada-Ya, but you know when you have your favourite places and you just keep going back to the same place and ordering the same dish? Yeah. That.
And OH BOY have I been missing out.
Kanada-Ya has three branches across London. Originally from Japan, there’s an awesome story behind the brand which you can read here.
The interior of the restaurant is pretty basic. Laminated tables and red benches are jazzed up with branded paper lanterns, but it’s still pretty bare and minimalist. Unlike a lot of restaurants in London at the moment, they’ve gone for substance over style. And I’m a-OK with that!
The staff are friendly, welcoming and efficient. They’ll greet you at the door with a smile and loud “irashaimase” (a traditional greeting in Japan), and are very speedy at taking orders and delivering the food.
We started with glasses of Mio sparkling sake, which Erica and I were VERY excited to see on the menu. Regular sake is really strong and I just can’t get a taste for it, but the sparkling variety is a whole other ball game. It’s light and fizzy and tastes JUST like peachy prosecco.
We were obsessed with it in Japan, and it’s great to know where to find it in London too!
GEKIKARA TAN-TAN RAMEN
When we were in Kyoto, we had the most INCREDIBLE tan-tan udon ramen at a tiny little restaurant by the Golden Pavilion. The crispy pork mince and spicy tan-tan sauce made it one of of the best dishes we tried in Japan, and we’ve been searching for an adequate replacement ever since.
The minced pork isn’t as crunchy as it was in Japan, and the noodles are a lot thinner. But the pork and chicken bone broth is rich, creamy, VERY spicy, and utterly delicious.
We all opted for the standard Hard noodles, but you can order yours softer or harder, depending on the texture you prefer.
TONKOTSU X RAMEN
I don’t like spice as much as the other two, so I ordered the Tonkotsu X instead, which is only available in London.
The pork and chicken bone broth is wonderfully rich and creamy, but *whispers* I still think Shoryu’s broth is my favourite.
However, the chashu pork belly slices served on top are absolutely incredible. “Chashu” really just means marinated and braised, but these are full of flavour and incredibly tender. It’s so easy to overdo pork, and I’ve had a lot of dry meat in the past, but this was perfect.
Seaweed sheets, wood ear mushrooms and spring onions provide a bit of color and texture to the bowl, and you can add your own sesame seeds at the table, if you like a bit more crunch.
The Hanjuku eggs are 100% worth ordering as an extra topping. These soft-boiled eggs are soaked overnight in a special soy sauce mix that leaves them salty and savoury and deeeelicious.
They’re one of my favourite parts of a ramen bowl, and I was surprised that you have to order them separately at Kanada-Ya.
We also tried the spicy yuzu paste, which proved to be a bit too much for the already hot Gekikara bowls, but worked perfectly with my creamier broth. The fruitiness adds a lovely depth to the flavour, and the extra kick of spice makes it a great addition to the Tonkotsu bowl.
All in all, a very solid ramen restaurant!
They have three branches in London now: Piccadilly, Covent Garden, and the brand new Angel venue where we ate.
On top of the ramen bowls, they also offer a small menu of sharing dishes (like karaage chicken and truffle edamame), as well as a selection of onigiri (rice balls stuffed with filling, and wrapped in seaweed). But it’s basically a ramen-only restaurant, so if you don’t like soup and noodles, then this is not the place for you.
The bowls are all around £11-£14, with the extra toppings and sides priced at £1-£2 each. Our mini-bottles of Mio sparkling sake were £6, which gave us about two small glasses each, making it pretty affordable for London.
Despite having only opened a few weeks ago, the Angel branch was packed, and by the time we left at 1:30pm, there was a queue outside the door. So my final tip is to either get there early, or book a table.
You don’t want to miss out on these noodles!
*We were guests of Kanada-Ya for this visit.