Japanese Ramen Bar in London
Kanada-Ya is a relaxed, Japanese ramen bar in London with three locations. Its simplistic interior gives off a canteen feel, and the hanging lanterns add a touch of the oriental origins.
Service is friendly, quick and efficient – they don’t hang around much, as you’d expect from a casual dining spot. The team literally didn’t stop moving, as the Angel location was packed out on the Wednesday night we visited – just a sign of how popular Kanada-Ya is. Yet we didn’t feel rushed or pushed out. It was very chilled, and they left you to enjoy and take your time.
The drinks menu features several authentic Japanese numbers including sake (chilled or hot), sparkling mio, beer, fruits-shu. There are also a couple of wines from South Africa and the standard soft drinks and teas you’d expect.
The Inari (£5, 330ml) was recommended by our host. It’s an extra pale golden ale, which is light, refreshing yet a little dry. It has a hint of berry, grape and spice, and apparently a little Turkish delight too. It was delicious.
We also tried the Mio (£6.50, 150ml), a lightly sparkling sake. It has a light grape and pear flavour, and the bubbles made it feel slightly delicate. It was refreshing and although it’s down as an aperitif, it made a fab accompaniment to our dishes too.
The menu at Kanada-Ya is focused around the Ramen, with nine different dishes on offer. There are also a handful of small plates including truffle edamame and karaage (Japanese fried chicken mayo), rice bowls and rice balls and the brand new gyoza.
The new Pork Gyoza (£6 for 5) are handmade Japanese dumplings with pan-fried pork, ginger and garlic. They are succulent and soft, with lots of flavour and a fab soy-yuzu dipping sauce which compliments and not overpowers.
The Chashu Don (£4) is another fantastic side dish A small bowl piled with white rice, seared chashu pork and spring onion, it’s a filling option and definitely one to share if you’re going with ramen too. The shredded pork is so soft and flavoursome – the larger pieces a little more like pork belly yet really tasty. The spring onion adds a fresh tangy zing and crunch. It really was a delicious combination of textures and flavours. In fact, we actually liked this more than one of the ramen dishes.
That ramen was the Truffle option (£14), the most expensive on the menu. Consisting of pork and corn fed chicken bone broth, chashu pork collar, seaweed, spring onion, porcini truffle paste, white truffle oil and yuzu-shoyu, we expected the truffle to just shine through. However the broth was almost creamy, and very rich in truffle flavour. It overpowered much of the dish, and by half way through, we truly couldn’t eat any more.
However, the Gekikara (£13) was a fantastic, spicy ramen. When we say spicy, we mean spicy. We believe we can handle the heat, yet this had us questioning that! Again, a pork and corn fed chicken bone broth, this ramen has spicy ‘tan-tan’ minced pork belly chashu, wood ear fungus and spring onion. It had a really good heat to it, yet the flavours still shone through. We loved the ‘tan-tan’ minced pork; it was tasty with a great texture. The seaweed didn’t just add to the presentation either, it was tasty too.
We were actually told by someone we know who’s been to Japan that this dish is the closest thing they have had to authentic Japanese cuisine here in London. So that’s saying something!
As for the noodles, you choose how you want them cooked. We opted for hard noodles in both, as recommended. They are not actually hard but along the lines of how we cook them at home – slightly soft but not over-cooked. We also added a hanjuku egg (£2) in each, a chashu cured clarence court egg with a soft centre. It was delicious and a must-add to any ramen.
The ramen dishes are really good portions and very filling, so much so we struggled to finish ours.
Kanada-Ya is a relaxed, Japanese ramen bar in London. With a casual-dining canteen feel, and quick and friendly service, it’s a great spot for a catch-up or a dinner spot before cinema or theatre.
The new gyozas make for a delicious starter or side and the chashu don is a must! It is really affordable, so you can tell why it’s packed out on a Wednesday night. Do be prepared to wait for a table, however service is pretty swift so we doubt you will be waiting too long.
East London Girl: Kanada-Ya
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