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Kikanbo translates as an 'ogre’s iron club' and this corner-lot ramen-house feels suitably demonic with its black-painted interior, taiko music and festival-style devil masks on the walls. The spice heat here can also feel like purgatory if you choose a dish that’s above your threshold. You order through a vending machine, then the staff will ask for your preferred spice level on a scale of five – for two types of spice mix, ‘kara’ and ‘shibi’.
‘Kara’ refers to the chilli heat and ‘shibi’ the numbing spice of sansho pepper mix (the Japanese version of the closely related sichuan pepper). This combination is a classic spice pairing in China's Sichuan province, where the effect on the palate is called ‘ma-la’ – ‘numbing-hot’.
We ordered the regular for both (a standard order costs ¥900) and found it spicy without being unbearably macho in strength. The base of the soup is a light brown miso, seafood and meat stock, topped with slices of chashu pork, a handful of bean sprouts, a baby sweetcorn garnish and – for an extra ¥100 – a boiled egg. If the queue's too long, there's a branch just a couple of doors to the right serving similar food but in a tsukemen version.
2-10-9 Kajicho, Chiyoda-ku
|Transport:||Kanda Station (Chuo, Sobu, Ginza lines), east exit|
|Opening hours:||Mon-Sat & hols 11am-9.30am, Sun 11am-4pm|