Ramen shops are like buses, we wait ages for one and then 2 comes along at the same time. Ittenbari Ramen (麺屋一点張) appeared quietly on the Soho food scene a few months ago. I was alerted to their presence by a Japanese lady at the hairdressers who was raving about it. She said that everything was from Osaka but this was a bit of misinformation. It is however associated with the guys behind Ryukishin from Osaka.
Finally, I found myself in the area one lunchtime and popped in for a quick bowl of ramen.As you enter, you are enveloped in the steam of the hot soup pots bubbling away in the open kitchen at the front of the shop. The setup is quite basic with a few tables squeezed into this narrow shop. There is no decor to speak of except for the cloth banner on the far wall with name of the restaurant in Osaka. It makes the place look shabby for a new restaurant.
The serving staff didn’t really acknowledge me as I came in so I just found myself a table and sat down. They then dumped a menu on the table and rushed off. One of the smiley waitresses came over to take my order. The place is obviously staffed by and frequented by students. It was late for lunch but the place was still quite busy.
The menu is very simple, a choice of 3 types of soup, clear chicken soup, shoyu and miso. There is also a seafood fried ramen. Prices start at £8.90 for the Ittenbari and Shoyu Ramen and £11.50 for the Miso Ramen. All of these have an option to go DX which I think means a couple of extra slices of pork and a whole egg.
The ramen noodles that is served here is made in collaboration with a local noodle maker and they have done a good job.
I ordered the Shoyu Ramen which came in a deeply flavoured chicken soup with home made soya sauce and topped with half a boiled egg, some spring onions, bamboo shoots and a slice of pork. The noodles had a good texture, with enough of a bite but I could have done with a bit more soup.
There is an option for an additional portion of ramen for £1.50. Noticably, there are no bottles of spicy chilli oil on the table unlike at Tonkotsu.
This is not a pure ramen place as they have a few other common Japanese dishes on offer like Sushi and some rice dishes. The service is about par with those of the Chinese Restaurants nearby, effecient enough but uninterested. It is just a ramen cafe after all.
Ittenbari is a great addition as we can never have too many proper ramen shops. I have to go back to try their Shio Ramen which is made with their secret recipe home made salt that’s made with mussels. It seems this is their specialty. Go check it out.
84 Brewer Street