Ramen (ラーメン) is a noodle soup dish that was originally imported from China and has since become one of the most popular dishes in Japan in recent decades. After dominating Japanese cuisine for many years, it spread across to the West and now we can't get enough of the stuff! It's a hug in the bowl!
Traditional Ramen is a hearty bowl of hot broth filled with fresh ramen noodles, toppings and garnishes. Walk into just about any food store, anywhere, and chances are you’ll find a few colorful packages containing a dry raft of woven noodles and a foil flavor packet. This is the fast, simple ramen that many know and love and can be produced with little more than a kettle. However, like any good art form, Ramen is ever-evolving. Often appearing as a a street favorite, a student staple, a hip foodie obsession and, most recently, a hybrid that’s both artisanal and convenient.
Tokyo Ramen produce dishes that fit the brief; their ramen dishes are simultaneously delicious and comforting, whilst looking like works of art. The menu is short and composed of just four different ramen dishes, alongside three side dish options and half a dozen drinks. There are few options, but this is a blessing rather than a curse; each dish is guaranteed to have been perfectly crafted and there's little room to feel overwhelmed by choice. Each ramen is composed of elaborate toppings from a whole soft shell crab to fried chicken resting on thick, ramen noodles, a whole egg and deliciously salty, spicy broth. The balance of flavours and textures is perfect, it's obvious the guys at Tokyo Ramen have tasted and tweaked over and over.
(Pictured: Tokyo Ramen's Tantanmen)
Since they opened 9 months ago, Tokyo Ramen has taken Northern Quarter by storm. Located on Church Street off Oldham Street, it's in prime position for those wanting to slurp their way to food heaven. It's likes stepping into a Ramen-ya on the corner of a Japanese neighbourhood; think less a special occasion venue and more a venue of stark functionality. The stripped back nature of the restaurant gives it a laid back ambiance, it feels like a home away from home where pomp and pretence is non-existent.
The open kitchen allows guests to be hypnotised by the steaming vent of broth that warms the restaurant. Rather than a traditional broth made from pork bones, Tokyo Ramen dare to do something different creating their broth using chicken bones. They make enough for the day and start again the next, everything is made fresh for each batch of guests. I tried the Tantanmen, the perfect blend of taste and textures. Please see below for a description of the dish:
It's a must-visit. Check out their Instagram here, it's guaranteed to make you drool.