Tsuru Ramen

The sushi and katsu chain Tsuru (don’t let the word ‘chain’ put you off), are planning to open a ramen restaurant. Ramen is not something that can be rushed, neither in the cooking nor in the research, so they are practising by hosting pop-up ramen lunches at the weekend, to get feedback before flying off on a research trip to Tokyo where there are a lot (3,957, apparently) of registered ramen vendors. They aim to develop their own style and bring it back to London (along with a noodle-making machine), where the grand total of places to eat good ramen currently amounts to zero.

It’s all about the broth with ramen; almost every region of Japan has it’s own variation and yesterday at Tsuru it was the turn of the pork-based Tonkotsu, which originates from Kyushu. A mixture of (predominantly) pork bones, trotters and vegetables are boiled and skimmed for 15 hours, to make a rich, clear broth with significant depth of flavour and porcine essence. This is very difficult to achieve, the last stages of cooking being particularly hairy, as the ingredients can catch and burn on the bottom of the pot, ruining all those hours of careful cooking.

This broth however, was excellent, as I knew it would be as soon as I picked up the scent wafting down Bishopsgate. We fished around in the pleasingly salty depths for springy noodles, pork pieces (a few more next time please) and the most incredible soy marinated egg, its creamy amber yolk oozing like liquid gold. Bean sprouts were superfluous but not offensive and I slurped my way through the whole thing with gusto.

We later found out that the stock is strained somewhat before serving, and that one table had complained their broth wasn’t ‘funky’ enough; they wanted something cloudier, with more of a feral whiff about it. Now of course, I wish I’d tried this, but feedback on Twitter seemed mixed and I was very happy with my bowl until I knew I’d missed out on something different.

A few shared starters of chicken kara-age (chicken marinated in soy, ginger and garlic then deep fried), pork gyoza, vegetable gyoza, 2 beers and a bowl of that gorgeous ramen later, my (particularly vicious) hangover was cured. I can’t wait to start exploring the world of ramen, particularly considering the fact I can’t afford a flight to Japan or New York any time soon. If you want to check it out for yourself, Tsuru are hosting a Hokkaido-style (fish and miso-based) ramen event on 21st January, Tonkotsu again on 4th February and there will be more events to follow. Book your tickets here (£10 for the ramen plus a bottle of Asahi beer. Gyoza and chicken are extra). I wouldn’t recommend that you go with a hangover, of course, but the restorative powers of ramen have to been experienced to be believed; it’s almost worth deliberately giving it a go.

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Tickets for future events here.

Category: Japanese, Noodles, Pop-up Restaurants | Tags: , , , , , , , 12 comments »

12 Responses to “Tsuru Ramen”

  1. Jonathan

    Brilliant. Very keen to get a proper taste for ramen. Will book one of these events.

  2. Helen

    It’s exciting isn’t it! Hope you enjoy it.

  3. KSalty

    I love Tsuru, never had a duff dish there (and there is one dangerously close to my office so go there A LOT). The ramen in the top pic especially looks rich and soothing, Can’t imagine ever complaining my food isn’t ‘funky’ enough!

  4. Helen

    I am very jealous that you work so nearby! I need that katsu sandwich. NEED.

  5. Tiffany

    I was there too and it was delicious…I was especially impressed by the chicken kara-age…so tender and perfectly crispy!! Yum.

  6. Helen

    Yes, I remember the chicken being incredibly juicy inside!

  7. Becs@Lay the table

    I have to say that looks pretty good! Really interesting about the broth making process too! When I was in Japan I actually just had an egg cracked into thr broth but I guess you probably wouldn’t be able to do that over here.

  8. Helen

    I’m sure you would be able to do that here. I mean, the broth would cook the egg and anyway, we eat raw egg all the time. On top of a steak tartare for example.

  9. Sharon

    Thank you for this post! Learning that a serious ramen shop will be opening in London makes me deliriously happy. Those soft-boiled eggs look just right. I wished I’d learned of their tonkotsu tasting in time to buy tickets, but I’m looking forward to their next event!

  10. Helen

    Dont worry, the event after next is tonkotsu again!

  11. Bellypleasures

    Have really enjoyed the Seafood, Shoyu and Tonkotsu Ramen events so far. Good work guys, can’t wait till the Restaurant opens

  12. Yuki

    I missed this event, but great to read your review. I teach both Ramen and Gyoza Japanese cooking classes in SE London. Both are hearty dishes to warm you up in the winter. You are right, Ramen can’t be rushed and it is all about the stock….. Come along to one of my classes soon! – Yuki


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