Honolu is set down a sloped street right next to the end of the skywalk leading from Ebisu Station. The counter can seat six people if everyone squeezes, but luckily they also have some Japanese-style low tables set away for small groups in the loft. The main attraction here is halal ramen, made with ingredients certified by the MHC (Malaysia Halal Corporation) and with quite a few options to choose from. These include some more creative ventures – Tom Yum or Karaage ramen, anyone?
We tried their pak chee (coriander) ramen, which at first glance looked like a bowl filled only with ample amounts of the green leaf and a lone blossom-shaped carrot; luckily, broth, noodles and extra toppings were hidden beneath the forest. The chicken-based soup was very light and refreshing, and the combination with coriander gave the entire bowl a slight southeast Asian feel; taste-wise, it almost felt more like pho than ramen.
The fried chicken ramen, on the other hand, was topped with good-sized chunks of chicken (more pan-fried than deep-fried, although there was definitely a hint of flour) and had a nice depth to it. The broth was denser and heavier than you'd expect from your average chicken soup, and was closer in taste to a classic miso or tonkotsu ramen – albeit a non-haram version.
A special mention goes to their halal-certified Nikkoken gyoza, which are made with chicken and tofu. As self-declared gyoza aficionados, we ordered a plate each (who wants to share?), and with the prices very reasonable (ramen is ¥780-¥980, gyoza ¥580), it won't even put a massive dent in your wallet to do the same.
In the evening, their menu expands to include takoyaki, sukiyaki and other more substantial dishes. Honolu have a few branches across the city and one in their native Osaka, but note that only the ones in Nihonbashi, Ebisu and Osaka serve a halal menu. There's also a small praying corner tucked away in the loft. Whether you're Muslim or not, Honolu are worth checking out for their slightly different take on ramen.
|Venue name:||Honolu Ebisu||Contact:|
ABC Americabashi Bldg 1F, 1-23-1 Ebisu-Minami, Shibuya-ku
|Opening hours:||11.30am-2.30pm, 5pm-9.30pm daily / closed hols|
|Transport:||Ebisu Station (Yamanote, Saikyo, Shonan-Shinjuku, Hibiya lines), east exit|