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Legendary Japanese Ramen Restaurant Ippudo opens in London

From the title one might wonder if it’s the noodles which are legendary, or is it the restaurant? Well,Ippudo Japanese Ramen Restaurant the restaurant is new to London but it is indeed legendary, being part of a small chain which is now also found outside Japan. The noodles are legendary and thankfully bear little resemblance to those infamous ones found in ‘instant’ pots – the ones that look like pale and pasty failed attempts at knitting a cricket sweater.

The original Ippudo was founded in the Kyushu region of Japan in a district of the city of Fukuoka. It opened its doors in 1985, but this latest establishment is designed to be the flagship European restaurant of the group. Ippudo has over 120 restaurants serving diners in 13 different noodle-loving countries and capital cities such as New York, Singapore, Hong Kong and Sydney. Ippudo founder, Shigemi Kawahara, has been crowned Ramen King numerous times and holds a place in the Ramen Hall of Fame after winning the championship three times in a row on "TV Champion Ramen Chef”, a show produced in Tokyo. Mr. Kawahara trained in European restaurants in Japan and in 1979 he opened his first restaurant; that was followed by the first Ippudo six yearsIppudo Japanese Ramen Restaurant later. He now has more than 60 ramen restaurants in Japan.

This Ippudo offers a real city vibe. There is an open kitchen, contemporary décor with unmistakable Japanese accents, staff who both charm and entertain with Japanese shouts of welcome and bows of farewell. There are glass walls that offer views onto the bustle of London streets, and these same streets present a changing landscape of traffic lights, restaurant and shop signs and reflections on wet pavements, as the sun retreats and the excitement of night takes hold. Yes, this is undoubtedly a Japanese restaurant but it has succeeded in stepping above the cliché. The distinctive red and white bowls make a crisp and unfussy statement. It is an 80-cover restaurant split over a ground floor and mezzanine level.

The food is deceptively simple, in a long-handed fashion. It’s a bowl of soup with pasta. That sounds not one bit appetising to the uninitiated, so what has been the secret to attracting and satisfying regular ramen slurpers on several continents? It’s the broth, which is cooked for hours. It isn’t simmered gently as one might expect but rather it remains at a rolling boil for up to half a day. The soup is made with pork bones (tonkotsu)Ippudo Japanese Ramen Restaurant which release the rich bone marrow to give the soup its prized silkiness and colour. These are Hakata-style ramen, which denotes the aforementioned district in Fukuoka from whence they come. They are considered to be amongst the classic styles of noodles and much sought by aficionados. Ippudo evidently does them well as they are serving more than 50,000 bowls of ramen each day across their branches.

The noodles are homemade and thin and not over-chewy. The diner is presented with a steaming bowl of their chosen broth along with chopsticks and a spoon. Shiromaru Hakata Classic is the first dish for the novice to try. It’s made with the traditional tonkotsu pork broth, the noodles being topped with pork loin, sesame, kikurage (Tree-ear) mushrooms, bean sprouts and spring onions. One can order extra garnishes such as eggs and pork slices to make this a complete meal.

The rugby players in your party might not feel that a bowl of soup constitutes dinner, but then there is Kaedama which allows you an extra serving of noodles. To order Kaedama, finish the noodles in the broth first, then say ‘Kaedama, please.’ A waiter will bring another serving of noodles to add to the remaining broth. I have no idea what will happen if one forgets those key words but I suspect that a polite request for ‘another portion of those delicious noodles’ might also see you right.
Ippudo Japanese Ramen Restaurant
Vegetarians are also considered at Ippudo. Shiro Vegetarian offers an original seaweed and mushroom broth, noodles topped with fried tofu, sesame, kikurage mushrooms, bean sprouts and spring onions. There are contemporary variations for both meaty and vegetarian options and there are numerous starters and side dishes to turn a bowl of soup into a feast. Homemade Pickles, Gyoza, and Hirata Buns are well worth a try.

Opening Hours: 

Monday-Sunday
lunch 11am-3pm
dinner 5pm-11pm last orders 10:30pm

Address:
Central Saint Giles,
London
W2CH 8AG

Email: info@ippudo.co.uk

Visit Ippudo London here


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