Since my last visit to London, a new ramen shop has opened up in Soho, and it’s been getting a lot of coverage in the various review sites, like TimeOut London. I always like a good ramen joint (heck, I found a truly excellent one hiding in Canton, MI), and while there are several decently-rated ramen joints in London still on my hit list, after reading Krista’s review of Bone Daddies on Passport Delicious, I decided to bump it up to the top of the list, especially after hearing how much she enjoyed the eggs.
Located on Peter Street in a fairly nondescript storefront (for those wandering Soho looking for it, it’s just down from the Soho branch of Byron Real Burger), walking inside through the curtain, you can immediately tell that Bone Daddies has a really weird vibe. The basic seating is like a typical ramen shop, with the tall bench seating, and about half of the decoration is Japanese. But one wall is covered with a photo montage of Tokyo Rockabilly Club pictures (wow, a phenomena I hadn’t previously been aware of) in punk ’50s hairdos riding motorcycles. And the music is… Elvis. Certainly not your typical ramen bar, in fact, it’s kind of noisy and in many ways the antithesis of what I’m expecting in a ramen bar, instead, having a lot of attitude.
But that attitude seems to help on the menu. The core menu itself is basically “ramen”, with eight varieties available, ranging from their simple Soy Ramen (with mizuna, nori, pork, and their clear chicken broth) up to their fairly elaborate Tantanmen (with chillis, sesame, two types of pork, and a thicker broth). But they also have an interesting array of drinks, such as their Mr Sparkle (ginger beer, cucumber, oolong, and grapefruit juice), and a rather nice array of appetizers, like the pickle plate we ordered, or the very delicious-looking soft shell crab the people next to us ordered. After a little bit of perusing, we both settled on the Tantanmen as our mains.
The pickle plate came out right away, and it was a rather good assortment of pickled carrots, beets, daikon, jicama, radish, and kimchi, and all of them were good (the kimchi was still fizzy from the fermenting). The flavors were sharp and spicy, with all of the vegetables still having a good crunch to them.
But the main attraction was the tantanmen. This was a ramen dish that delivered throughout. The ramen itself had the perfect ramen texture, with a slight bit of toothsomeness and nicely developed to not have the flavor of flour. The broth was simply wonderful, a rich chicken bone brother with sesame, oozing with flavor and a bit of chili spice. The veggies (bamboo shoot and bok choy) were both perfectly cooked, and the pork (both the pork slices and the minced pork) were nicely flavored as well.
But for us, one of the attractions was the egg. The egg was a Clarence Court egg, perfectly soft-boiled so that the white was barely firm and the center still deliciously soft, oozing into the broth. I usually don’t care for eggs in my soup, but this one was so nicely done, it was one of the hallmarks of the meal. Further so since most places out our way seem to think that eggs in oriental soup need to be completely hard-boiled, so for us it was also a nice change of pace.
We opted to pass on dessert (this trip is scheduled to have rather a lot of excess, so I have to try to be good when the occasion presents itself), but our server still dropped off a small sample of their daily dessert: black sesame soft ice cream. In some ways I regretted not ordering this, since it was quite delicious. The sesame was smooth, resulting in a product that resembled a tahini mixed with sweet creamy peanut butter for a very pleasant combination of flavors and textures. I’d happily order this if we came back.
Bone Daddies is the trendy new place in Soho, and it’s probably not the most authentic ramen place in that part of London, but despite some of the odd quirkiness, they are creating some seriously good bowls of noodles partnered with several good sides, drinks and desserts. They are worth checking out.