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Kanada-ya Ramen – Best ramen in London

by Best-Japanese Team
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Kanada-ya Tonkotsu Ramen London - Top 10 Japanese Restaurants in London

Where can you eat the best Ramen in London? Well there are many who would say Kanada-ya wins this title. Here is our honest review of Kanada-ya Ramen and their well-loved Tonkotsu ramen.

We first found their Piccadilly ramen branch after having a nostalgic Gyudon at Machiya in Panton Street. While in Machiya my Japanese coworker was telling me through Instagram messenger that “Kanada-ya is the best Tonkotsu ramen you can get in the UK”. Naturally I began searching for the nearest location immediately. However this did not take long as Machiya and Kanada-ya are located right next to each other in Panton Street!

It was not long before I returned to Soho, and this time just for the ramen at Kanada-ya. A lot of reviews of Kanada-ya talk about long queues but on both occasions I went, it was less than a fifteen-minute wait.

Kanada-ya Ramen – Interior and menu

Once inside, I had time to appreciate the brightly lit and no-distractions minimal interior before ordering. In Japan, this is a good sign as ramen restaurants are often not too fancy in terms of decoration. The idea behind this is that the focus should of course be on the ramen. When you check their menu, you’ll see that Kanada-ya specialises in Tonkotsu and combinations of pork and corn-fed chicken broths. However, there is also a vegetarian option with a broth made of Shiitake mushroom and porcini-soya milk.

As it was a first visit, I felt the pure Tonkotsu ramen with kata-men (firm) wheat noodles was the way to go. Also, just to be extra careful I didn’t order any extra toppings that could cloud my judgement or senses. You might think this is a bit much, but when good ramen is literally 2 hours away from where you live, I really wanted to savour the experience.

How were the ramen toppings and broth?

While I didn’t time the arrival, it wasn’t too long a wait. I was equally impressed with the excellent presentation of the toppings and the distinctive aroma rising from the bowl. The Tonkotsu ramen comes with generous but not overbearing slices of Chashu (braised pork belly), chopped spring onions and Kikurage (wood ear) mushrooms.

So how was the broth? Kanada-ya simmers the pork bones for 18 hours to produce a unique rich and flavourful broth and for me it had the depth to give it a really authentic taste. The kata-men noodles were also on point – they’re made on-site using a specific type of wheat flour, and they have just the right amount of texture to perfectly complement the broth. It says a lot when you can finish the whole bowl of broth and want more and that was exactly my experience.

Is Kanada-ya Ramen worth another visit?

Absolutely yes. Now I realise that I’ve only been the once to Kanada-ya and it may not be the same on my next encounter. For now it fully gets my vote for the best ramen in London. Things that I would like to try on future visits would be their spicy Yuzu ramen. This is because I’m still trying to find a Yuzu ramen that matches Afuri’s Yuzu in Harajuku. Another ramen that intrigues me is their famous Truffle ramen. The idea of Truffle ramen sounds odd but since Kanada-ya’s Tonkotsu ramen is so good perhaps this is something to try out.

To completely round out this post is there anything I’ve missed out? Well, yes perhaps I should mention that the Hanjuku Tamago (soft boiled and marinated egg) is an extra topping. So if you expect it to be included with their Tonkotsu ramen it is not, although this was not a major issue for me.

Another thing is that I’ve only been to the Piccadilly branch. If you’ve been to the Angel or Covent Garden branches, please feel free to comment in the section below.

Updated! Kanada-ya Truffle Ramen, Spicy Yuzu & Chashu-men review

Kanada ya Truffle Ramen
Kanada-ya Truffle Ramen

I recently returned to Kanada-ya with two friends. My memories were so good from my first visit I was slightly apprehensive to go back. My biggest worry was – what if it was a one-off? Perhaps I had been particular craving ramen that day and I added bonus points?

For this visit, a good friend I know from Nagoya and his wife (originally from Chiba prefecture but who has lived in Tokyo) joined me. This couple love ramen, and truly know what an authentic ramen broth should taste like.

What did we order?

I decided on this visit I really had to try out Kanada-ya’s Truffle Ramen and got a Hanjuku egg topping. Meanwhile one of my friends ordered a Spicy Yuzu ramen while the other had a Chashu-men with a topping of Karamiso. Maybe you can guess who ordered which? Also, since last time I didn’t order any side dishes, I felt a plate of gyoza dumplings was a must! In the end, I forgot to take a photo but these gyoza were pan fried and simply delicious with the Yuzu-soy sauce.

How was the ramen?

Each one of our bowls was adorned with perfectly placed slices of chashu pork collar. The broth for both the Spicy Yuzu and Truffle ramen was a pork and corn fed chicken one, while the Chashu-men broth was only made from pork bones. I admired the toppings for a few more seconds, before I took a first spoonful from my bowl. The thing that stuck me immediately about the broth was just how much flavour and umami Kanada-ya pack into their soup. It has a depth that is often hard to find in other ramen restaurants in London. Next, I took a spoon of the porcini truffle paste that was placed on top of the Chashu. My goodness what a flavour explosion! The truffle paste mixed with the white truffle oil and the pork and chicken broth was simply fantastic.

I followed this with some noodles which were straight and thin – just the way they should be. They also had a nice bounce and chewiness and paired superbly with the rosy pink chashu slices. My only issue about this ramen was the size of the chashu slices – they were huge! Finally the Clarence Court Hanjuku egg was cooked to perfection and oozes a creamy yolk center.

For my friends, they were overall happy with their ramen. Again I heard a familiar comment that this was one of the best ramen they have eaten in the UK. They did have some comments though. For the Spicy Yuzu, it was ever so slightly salty. Meanwhile, the Chashu-men itself went down a storm, but the amount of spicy red miso paste that accompanied it did seem excessive. Hopefully, other diners can figure out they won’t need too much of it.

Verdict?

Kanada-ya is still the number one ramen restaurant in London for me. I do have friends who place it second after Tonkotsu, and it might be interesting to make a poll at some point. What is for certain, is that Kanada-ya always pulls in a Japanese crowd. On the occasion we were there, apart from us there were four tables occupied by Japanese friends. In fact, we even heard the familiar sounds of obachans (elderly ladies) gossiping about people they know in Japanese! For a few moments, we could even believe we were back in Tokyo!

If you are looking for alternatives to Kanada-ya or Tonkotsu, please feel free to check out our list of the best Japanese ramen restaurants in London.

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3 comments

Ricky May 6, 2021 - 7:52 am

Nice! I love Tonkotsu ramen and wonder why it’s not more popular everywhere. Something I’d love to try if I ever visit London.

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