Some Japanese restaurants try to impress with swanky decor and fine tableware; some just focus on providing decent, well-priced food. This little spot, tucked down a side road off New Oxford Street, is all about soothing workaday staples. Despite the bright orange façade, it’s easy to miss and the narrow dining room is also far from overstated.
Capacious bowls of ramen are top of the lunch crowd’s list. Filled with rich, earthy broths, such as thick, amber-hued miso or milky, pork bone-based tonkotsu – finished with black garlic oil (mayu) – each comes with an assortment of rolled pork belly slices, crisp shallot pieces, beansprouts and sweetcorn. A nearby table of Japanese salarymen slurped theirs approvingly.
While the ramen rivals any that you’d find in a no-nonsense eatery in Japan, our sweet soy-based beef and vegetable hot pot (sukiyaki) was a little disappointing. Serving it with pre-cooked beef took away all the fun of doing the job ourselves on the portable brazier. Service, though friendly, was a little absent-minded, but there’s no complaining about the array of Japanese beers, spirits and fruity liqueurs.