The Ramen craze has settled down, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any new noodle spots opening up – case in point is Sasuke. I was clued onto it by my friend and Ramen guru, Katie B, who absolutely raved about it. So on my last day off, I popped in for the lunch special which is any bowl of ramen plus a side order for an extra £1.50.
The restaurant is set up with a very no frills décor with tables and benches being little more than thick planks bolted together. The staff are predominately Japanese and very friendly and efficient. Keep in mind the music is very much in theme with the restaurant with the selection revolving around Japanese pop music and rock which was interesting if not my usual cup of tea.
Food: ★★★☆☆ Service: ★★★★☆ Atmosphere: ★★☆☆☆ Value: ★★★☆☆ Overall: ★★★☆☆
It’s pretty much in what’s become Little Japan at Piccadilly Circus so there are tons of places to gather around. That being said, I’m partial to Kingly Court particularly when the sun is out. Grab a table on the ground floor at Whyte & Brown if you fancy a beer (they have a great selection) or pop up to Rum Kitchen for some delicious cocktails. Slight issue with RK is that their license only lets them serve drinks with food, but get a bowl of sweet potato fries for £4 for a very tasty solution to that problem.
What to eat?
I’d heard good things about the miso ramen (they mainly do either miso or shoyu aka soy sauce based ramen here) so I went with the spicy miso (£10.40), a side of kara-age (fried chicken – £1.50 for the lunch special) and a cold barley tea (£2).
As far as bowls of ramen go, this was pretty decent with a good balance of noodles, crunchy bean sprouts and sweet corn, and a large slice of fatty char siu pork. I think the noodles were my favourite component given they were elastic but not too chewy and tough. The broth had a slightly strange flavour that I can’t quite describe but made me think of alcohol – now I’m sure they aren’t spiking the broth (I think…) and it was still tasty but just a bit different.
The main issues I took with ramen was the lack of three key ingredients: garlic, egg, and the chilli. Given I had opted for the spicy miso, I expected some heat but it was mild at best despite the addition of copious amounts of chilli oil. Don’t get me wrong, it was a flavourful broth but I wanted some spice. The absence of garlic can be put down to personal taste, but no marinated egg? I’m not an egg guy, but even I love the ramen egg and it’s really a staple of a solid bowl of ramen.
The karage was expertly fried with crisp batter and tender juicy meat. I got four nugget sized pieces for the £1.50 which made is spectacular value and made up for the £2 I forked over for a single glass of tea.
What about drinks?
I went with some tea as I was off for a run afterwards (which didn’t materialise in the end as I ate too much) but they have your usual range of tea, sake, and beers plus an umeshu (plum wine). Nothing too elaborate or exciting but then again this is a canteen-style place not Yauatcha.
Worth the dosh?
At just over a tenner per bowl, it’s about on par with Bone Daddies, Shoryu, and Ittenbari but less than Cocoro. However, given that it’s not a comfortable place to chill out (although the staff are fine with letting you stay and write), I think I’d rather go to one of the others if I was with a group of friends. But if you just want a bowl before you head out, then it’s a good pick with quick service and good quality food.
Find Sasuke here