I guess it’s a sign of the times. We want good food but money is tight so we look for something delicious, fun and warming in this typical 6-month cold snap. Ramen is now available at YO! in London and it’s easy to see why it’s exciting the attention of the dining population.
Ramen is a ubiquitous Japanese noodle dish (in Japan, at least), although the noodles are believed to be a Chinese invention. The noodles are the substantial and solid part of the dish, but it’s really the broth in which the noodles and other ingredients float that is the key to its success or otherwise.
YO! Sushi has recently introduced Ramen to their battery of eponymous cold fish and rice preparations. It’s a logical move and particularly during the long northern winter when steaming foods are most appealing. Ramen here constitute a substantial one-bowl meal that is flavoursome and warming, and also healthy.
YO! Sushi offers Ramen for every taste, and we chose the chicken and the fish cake varieties. Both Ramen had the base stock which acts as the perfect carrier for meat, fish or vegetables. It’s described as ‘umami’ broth, which basically indicates that it has a pleasingly savoury taste.
The noodles were far from the thin and floury examples that one finds in packs of instant noodles. These were hearty and didn’t turn gummy in the bowl. Each portion of noodles and broth was garnished with half a salted egg (ajitsuke-tamago), a strip of nori seaweed, menma (made from dried and fermented bamboo shoots), wakame (edible seaweed used in soups), narutomaki (a type of cured fish, each slice with a distinctive pink swirl which is said to represent the whirlpools in the Naruto Strait), and spring onions – an indispensible topping giving a freshness to the soup.
The Fishcake Ramen had delicate handmade fishcakes as a topping and will be the one sought by non-meat eaters; it certainly wouldn’t disappoint. But the chicken Ramen was outstanding. British barn-reared chicken is marinated in sake, miso and hoisin sauce then roasted. The hoisin gave a striking flavour and elevated the dish from a comforting and warming soup to an aromatic and memorable meal.
YO! Sushi is a favourite casual restaurant and famed for the conveyor belt laden with plates of sushi; but they also serve a selection of traditional Japanese hot dishes and Ramen is a worthy addition to that list. A bowl of Ramen is a meal at a reasonable price but it’s the flavour that will ensure your return …and there is always sushi as a starter.
Restaurant review by Chrissie Walker © 2018