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

Bone Daddies @ Peter Street

Ugh, I’ve just realised a blunder!
Instead of knitting a mirror image of the part I completed yesterday, I’ve just made an exact copy.
I can’t believe my carelessness. And I am piping mad at myself.
This kind of blunder happens when I sleepwalk into the state of autopilot without realising it, becoming too comfortable with the routine.
For 4 hours at least, I’ve wasted my time and energy. I must NOT let this happen ever again…

By the way, I did managed to eat at Bone Daddies the other day.
Since I visited Shoryu, my interest in other ramen bars in London intensified. So I decided to give a go at Bone Daddies.

When Fei & I arrived at the restaurant around 6:10pm, a queue was yet to form, so we were led to an oblong table by the wall with stools straight away.

Apart from chopsticks with paper napkins on the table, there were condiments and their paraphernalia…

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A bottle of peeled garlic cloves, a pot of chilli oil, a pitcher of soy sauce & a garlic crusher.

We ordered fried chicken and soft shell crab as starters.

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Fried chicken seems to be the staple of starter menu in London’s ramen noodle bars, don’t they?
Comparing Bone Daddies’ one with Shoryu’s, we give our vote to Bone Daddies’.
We thought the chunks were better seasoned and the morsel was smaller therefore easier to eat.
The soft shell crab came with a sauce which appearance resembled pea & ham soup. However, the sauce turned out to be super hot, even die-hard chilli sauce lover Fei didn’t have to spice it up any further (which was rare).

Here comes the main act, my Tonkotsu ramen!
Two large slices of Charshu pork, a boiled egg cut in half, finely chopped leek and crispy garlic chips were on top of the noodle & soup…

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I added an additional crushed garlic to my ramen since Hubbie was away in Dublin, therefore he wouldn’t have to suffer my garlicky breath at home.
About Bone Daddies’ Tonkotsu broth, it was rich and creamy without being too greasy. Charshu pork was succulent and flavoursome.
However, I wasn’t very impressed with their noodle.
The texture was closer to one of those papery stuff from Chinatown which I dislike.
I am very sorry but the noodle has to be a bouncy and flexible egg noodle kind if they want to claim the bowl in concerned as a Japanese style ramen.
I’ve heard that Tonkotsu on Old Compton Street makes their own noodle.
Therefore, they are the next one on my “must visit ramen place” list.

For a bottle of mineral water, 2 bowls of ramen and 2 starters, it costed us £44.44.

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Hmm… apparently we were served by Teddy Panda.

Another thing I noticed was that the restaurant was very noisy.

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When the restaurant was full, the acoustic resembled Wagamama’s, the sound reverberated and amplified.
Quite impossible to hold any small talks!
It maybe to do with their tightly packed seating arrangement and a lack of soft furnishing.
So for the atmosphere and comfort, I vote for Shoryu.

When we left, a queue was stretching towards Berwick Street..

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It was a fun place to visit. I will definitely come again when they are not too busy.

I noticed more than a few unsightly speckles on my silk shirt when I got home.
Ahhh, I must have spattered while I was slurping the noodle!
Another lesson to be learnt: Avoid wearing a dry-cleaning only top when eating ramen…

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