When we’re in a city, Matt and I always try to sit down and enjoy something that we can’t get closer to home. On our last London trip, this was set to be ramen.
With the nearest ramen restaurant being 95 miles from our front door, we made plans to slot in a trip to Bone Daddies whilst we were down there. Staying in Shoreditch, we made the 30 minute journey to Soho on a crisp winter eve. It was the complete opposite direction for where we needed to be later that night, but I knew it would be worth it.
As we came in to Leicester Square, we met with the late night crowds of tourists and cinema goers. Nipping past china town, we scanned the street names to figure out where we were. Every corner we turned was the wrong one and Bone Daddies was no where in sight. I’d dragged him all this way for a place we couldn’t find. Matt was so close to saying ‘ok, we can’t find it. Let’s go to ….’ and then we looked up to see the Peter Street sign.
Down this narrow side street, I’d spotted the tell tale noren – the Japanese ‘open for business’ curtain on the door.
Other than pickle jars and sake, the decor is pretty plain. Almost utilitarian.
Old school rock and roll set the backdrop. A pint of Asahi super creamy head for Matt (an exclusive to Bone Daddies in the UK) and an iced green tea for me. We flipped through the clip board menus but having stalked the menu online, I already knew my order. Within 15 minutes, it began to roll in and soon we had a feast in front of us.
Tonkotsu ramen – a 20 hour pork bone broth with slices of ridiculously tender pork, spring onion, marinated egg, menma (fermented bamboo shoots), bean sprouts, noodles, cock scratchings (an extra I added that we’ll get to in a minute) and a slick of salty soy. After 20 hours of simmering, the fat and bone marrow melt in to this phenomenally porky, intense, creamy and rich concoction. The fat content sits heavy on the palate, relieved a little by a dash of chilli oil in to the bowl and sips of the green tea. It was the heartiest bowl of winter warming that I’d had in a long time and although the broth its self nearly out did me, I could have taken 6 more of the Ajitsuke Tamago (marinated egg).
I was tempted to add some pickled garlic to my ramen but I was so scared I’d ruin the whole thing. I like the extra condiment choices at the tables though and thankfully we didn’t need the provided bibs!
Next, Matt’s T22.
Based on chicken bone broth, this dish was entirely sold to him on the inclusion of ‘cock scratchings’. These herby grains of fried chicken skin are knock out. I’m so glad I had added them to my bowl as well. Matt’s ramen also came with menma, beansprouts, a marinated egg, chunks of chicken, nori and mustard leaves. His broth had a much cleaner mouth feel, was loaded with umami and if I’m honest, was the winner.
Every so often, we took a break from our bowls and turned our attention to the sides. Fried chicken and softshell crab.
I’d say it was the best fried chicken I’ve ever had and it’s exactly what ‘popcorn chicken’ should be. Chunks of tender thigh meat, crispy light batter. Perfection.
The batter on the soft shell crab was equally perfect; barely there with it’s tempura texture, it left the crab to show off all of its flavour. The green chilli ginger sauce was something I’d bottle up and keep -Ross Shonhan, if you ever read this, please start selling it!
Our bill came to around £45, but we’d over ordered by far. The Ramen bowls are a huge meal on their own so between those and our two side orders, I’d barely made it down to the half way line. I’d suggest just one side between two diners if you’re feeling very hungry. To be honest though, I think we’d go for their sides alone, I wished we’d sampled more; the sticky pork bones sound incredible.
Matt declared this meal the best thing he’d had in his mouth. This is the man that I’d practically had to drag to visit this ‘soup’ place. I hope you’ve enjoyed this Bone Daddies review, and we will be back, I want to try the pickles. I imagine we’ll also be paying a visit to their sister restaurant soon, Flesh & Buns.