Oct 23 2014

Kanada-Ya

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Last few years we have seen a massive expansion of Japanese ramen noodle restaurants in London. The latest such restaurant is Kanada-Ya. Kanada-Ya is arguably the most authentic ramen restaurant, as it comes from Yukuhashi in Japan where it was set up by Kanada Kazuhiro in 2009. They also since then have opened a restaurant in Hong Kong. Kanada-Ya London is their first European venture. Kanada-Ya serves tonkotsu (pork bone broth) ramen.

I came to Kanada-Ya on a Thursday evening and was at the place at five past 6 and even then there was a long queue outside, so we had to wait for 30min to get in. Most of the people in the queue and in the restaurant where Japanese, a great sing. Also my Japanese colleague Asako told me about this place and said that it was getting all the Japanese in London very excited.

The inside of the restaurant was very small (seats only 24 people), with an open kitchen on one side where 2 chefs were cooking ramen. On the table you had ginger and pickles and chopsticks and spoons which you could use with your ramen. The menu was small, with only three different types of ramen, ranging from £10.00 to £12.50. You could get the original ramen, Moyashi ramen (which was like the original ramen only topped with blanched breansprouts) and the Chasiu men, which had the delux charsiu pork collar, instead of the charsiu pork belly which the other ramen had. Asako had told me to order Chasiu men, which is what I and my lunch buddy David did as well. You could also top your ramen with various toppings– extra noodles, black garlic sauce, spicy miso (which I chose), hanjuku egg (which David chose) and extra mori.

Instead of the lengthy boiling of pork bones, Kanada-Ya wash all stock bones before boiling, and when they boil the soup, continue to skim it during cooking in order to remove any impurities, which apparently gives their ramen a better taste and appearance. They also create their noodles onsite and they use a specific flour enriched with the right protein content and alkaline salts to produce a bouncy, firm noodle. With our ramen we could chose to have soft, medium or hard noodles, and we both chose medium, which were quite soft, and I am quite intrigued to see what the soft and hard noodles were like.

So what did I think about the ramen? Over the years I have understood that I can’t eat too much of the tonkotsu broth, as it is just too strong in flavour to me, as was the case here, it was very powerful, and as David said you could taste the fact it was made out of pork bones. I loved drinking some of the broth, eating noodles and the pork, and the seaweed. At times I added my spice miso sauce, ginger and pickles to spice up my ramen. The portion was quite small, the smallest ramen portion you get out of any of the ramen restaurants (Tonkotsu, Bone Daddies etc), but it was very well made. I did enjoy it. David I think enjoyed it more than me. He liked the hanjuku egg and said that it tasted almost just like a normal egg and he thought the ramen was delicious. It is definitely very authentic.

Besides the ramen we also ordered onigiri (premium Japanese rice balls wrapped in Nori), and you could choose from the original, pickled plum or the salmon onigiri. We ordered initially the salmon one, but they forgot to bring them to us, and when we asked again, they had ran out of the salmon onigiri, and we ate the original ones, which was rice with a sort of taste wrapped in nori. It was plain rice that tasted interestingly, so I would have preferred to eat it at least with salmon, but I did enjoy it, it had that interesting taste to it which I can’t explain. David thought you needed the pickled ginger added to it as then it tasted even better. 

Apart from the fact they forgot to bring us the onigiri, the service was not very efficient but was very warm. Even though on average people spent only 30min in the restaurant (order, eat, leave), we spent much longer and they did not ask us to leave. They were very welcoming, which to me means more than efficiency.

I am very happy I went to Kanada-Ya. It was so authentic, I felt like when I left the restaurant and went outside, I could easily be in Japan.

Location: Tottenham Court Road
Date: 23/ 10/ 14
Price for 2 people, no service charge and no alcohol: 34.80 (and we left 5 service charge)

Kanada-Ya on Urbanspoon

Maija rated: 

3.50

Location: 

Kanada-Ya
64 Saint Giles High Street WC2H 8LE
London
United Kingdom
GB
Kanada-Ya Reviewed by Hungry Bee Maija on . Rating: 3.5