REVIEW: Really Good Ramen At Ippudo London

REVIEW: Really Good Ramen At Ippudo London

Ippudo- tofo ramen

by Alice Tate |
Published on

London loves a food trend and right now it's ramen. Ippudo, an international chain which began in Fukuok in 1985 and has over 120 branches worlwdie opened in London in October and is one in a handful of restaurants that's elevating the numble bowl of noddles and broth into a coveted dinner choice, giving it trendier status than Wagamama ever managed, by coupling authentic food with designer interiors and an on-trend no bookings policy.


Located under London’s Google HQ on Central Giles’ Piazza, Ippudo is a designer-looking restaurant with a sweeping glass facade and a dark and polished interior. Once inside, you feel a little like you’re in a goldfish bowl thanks to the curved glass walls and high ceilings created by the mezzanine. There’s a slick looking bar, an open kitchen and endless ramen bowls and spoons on the walls. If you don’t stop for a drink and you’re lucky enough to get a table straight away (unlikely), you’ll be shown to your table, past the open kitchen, at which point all of the staff will unite in cheering a lively “Irrashaimase” (‘welcome’ in Japanese), which makes you feel like a celebrity until you later realise they do this to everyone who walks in. I’ve heard some find this adoption of the traditional greeting annoying, but I don’t know how you couldn’t find it charming.



Despite it only featuring on the last page of the menu, ramen is by far the main event here. Other dishes include hirata buns, gyoza and yellowtail carpaccio, but as my dining partner discovered, opting for anything other than a hot steaming bowl of noodle broth might be a slight disappointment. To save herself from slurping her way through the evening and with a view to trying something different, she she went for two dishes from the à la carte menu, which though delicious were more starters than mains and didn’t have a whole lot to them. The Tori Kara-Age (Ippudo-style fried chicken) would have been a good appetiser but was a disappointing main dish with no accompanying dip or salad, and tofu and vegetable teppan, which was promised on the menu with soy noodles, stringed celery and carrot, sizzled excitingly on arrival but were in fact a little soggy and bland, and appeared to be little more than three little squares of tofu. Luckily, we’d shared the hirata buns to start which were all sorts of delicious and satisfying so she didn’t leave too famished or despondent. I, on the other hand waddled out of there with a grin smile on my face — probably just like everyone else who made the sensible choice of ramen. Not only did I gobble my share of the carby hirata buns but I got my face hot and sweaty over a bowl of steaming hot Aka ramen too, a bolder version of the original broth. Delicious it was, the broth rich and thick, the noodles slightly al dente, a generous serve of silky tofu and a pile of spring onions and garnish.

We skipped dessert, instead finishing our bottle of sparkling sake, which acted as a sweet and authentic finish.****



A well-placed and convenient weekday dinner spot for something truly authentic and a little bit different.

Ippudo London, 3 Central St Giles Piazza, Holborn, London, WC2 8AG

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