In the window of Soho’s Ittenbari, far away from its big brother Ryukishin in Osaka, is a quick and simple ramen production line. Deep blue and red bowls are filled with stock, either shio (‘salt’ – with seafood extract) or shoyu (with soy sauce). Thin wheat noodles are then scooped out of boiling water and into the stock in one motion. Another pair of hands quickly adds a slice of pork, half a soft-boiled egg and then completes the composition with a scoop of spinach, a bundle of bamboo shoots and some thin slices of spring onion.
The interior has changed little since the same site was the Ryo noodle bar, and before that, Men’s Bar Hamine. The plain white-tiled walls, gaffer-taped up air conditioner vents and plastic table tops will win few design plaudits.
The service is similarly to the point, with drinks, food and the bill all brought in quick succession, but friendly nonetheless.
The two stocks were both pleasing backdrops to the springy noodles. The pork slice however was fairly undistinguished and the gyoza dumplings dry without a dip in some rice vinegar. For £8.90 a bowl though, diners may be able to overlook the culinary and decor defects and instead appreciate a very filling bowl of noodles.