Girl’s supper @ Soho

London still sizzles!
The temperature rose to nearly 30℃ this afternoon.
This pic was taken at 6pm and the thermometer still indicated 27℃!

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In order to make the best out of this gorgeous evening, Letizia, Fei & I planned a girl’s supper night at Soho.
My pre-emptive power walk coincided with the London rush hour.
A stream of cyclists sped past me as I turned around to admire a cloudless sky above me. They had no time to let their attention astray no matter how beautiful the evening was. Negotiating through the London traffic during the rush hour was a deadly serious business. Their grim face said it all.

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I arrived at Piccadilly Circus earlier than anybody.
The time was just after 7 pm and theatres along Shaftesbury Avenue had opened their doors for evening performances. And the pavements in the vicinity were choking with theatre-goers in all ages & shapes, milling around with slight apprehension on their faces. Amongst the crowd, anywhere I stood seemed to be in someone’s way. So I wandered around aimlessly like a fish in the tank.

Then, slightly under-the-weather Fei materialised and we walked to Old Compton Street, dodging “human bollards” along the way.

I was thirsty after my power walk so we quenched the thirst at Costa on Dean Street.
Shortly afterward, Letizia rendezvoused with us and we made our way to Tonkotsu the ramen bar.

The restaurant was already packed with diners…

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Luckily, a table for four became just available  and we settled into it straightaway.
Fei & Letizia hadn’t seen each other for more than a month…

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Therefore, they had lots of catching up to do.
I left them to get on with their updating and studied the menu.
First and foremost, we toasted our reunion with a glass of Prosecco based cocktail…

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We sipped the drink while Fei recalled her treacherous travelling experience between Beijing & Shanghai.
The extreme weather in last August played havoc with her plan. The airplane she was on circled between 2 cities for 7 hours, being unable to land because of the thunderstorm. Normally this flight takes only 2 hours, by the way. After the uncomfortable delay, she was finally allowed to disembark at Shanghai where she started her original journey (!) and had to travel via train as all the flights were suspended. However, her ordeal was far from
over as the train station was raided by hundreds of desperate air passengers.
She described the chaos ensued as a trading floor of the New York Exchange. The price of train ticket sky-rocketed while it changed hands between the eager travellers in a rapid succession. Voices were raised and altercations were inevitable.
Gee, it must have been quite a spectacle…

Once the first round of our endless chitchat reached to the interval, we shifted our attention to more urgent task – ordering food!

For starters, we picked our all time favourites, Pork Gyoza & Chicken Karaage.
Instead of one plate, they brought us two plates of Gyoza. Why?

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It turned out to be their mistake.
So we were given an extra vegetable Gyoza for free. Yay!

Mmmm… I really love their Chicken Karaage…

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The coating was crisp and the meats were succulent and perfectly cooked.
An absolute treat.

Then, my favourite, one and only Soho Ramen arrived…

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Even though Tonkotsu based soup appears to be a clear majority in the London ramen scene, the flavour is one of many ramen soups in Japan.
Where I grew up, there were only chicken based stock flavoured with Shio (salt), Shoyu (soy sauce) or Miso (soybean paste). No Tonkotsu (pork bone).
Then, I came across a Tonkotsu only noodle bar in Tokyo.
A pale cloudy broth garnished with a few slices of grilled pork and chopped green onion plus a small heap of wispy red pickled ginger in the middle of the bowl. I was taken aback a little because I never had a noodle with vinegary ginger in it! Once I swallowed a small mouthful of the soup, I discovered that my reservation was unfounded. The ginger added zing to the flavour and made otherwise fatty soup more palatable.
Still, Tonkotsu failed to win me over as one of my most favourite ramens. And it still does.
One major drawback of this particular noodle is the greasiness of its broth. Some may describe it “rich & intense”. However for me, it is “fatty & too gamy”. I prefer a more subtle & delicate flavour when it comes down to my ramen broth. A clear chicken / fish base with sea salt seasoning only, that’s what I like.
And this Soho ramen is the closest to it.

After waving goodnight to the girls, I walked towards Hubbies office on Whitfield Street…

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The ring of iconic BT Tower glowed in the distance.
Night seemed to be still young in this part of London.

I took away two tubs of frozen yoghurt at Yog…

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Blueberries for Hubbie and strawberries for me.
After a salty dinner, a pudding tastes even better…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

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