Kikanbo translates as an 'ogre’s iron club', and this corner site ramen-ya 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 with a vending machine ticket, then the staff will ask what spice level you prefer, on a scale of five – for two types of spice mix, ‘kara’ and ‘shibi’. ‘Kara’ refers to the chilli heat, and ‘shibi’ to 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 in both (standard versions costs ¥800), and found it spicy without being unbearably macho in the spice strength. The base of the soup is a light brown miso, seafood and meat stock, topped with slices of chashu pork, a handful of beansprouts, a baby sweetcorn garnish and – perhaps, 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 much the same food, but in a tsukemen version.
Meal for two with drinks: around ¥2,500
2-10-9 Kajicho, Chiyoda-ku
|Opening hours:||11am-9.30pm (Sun 11am-4pm)|
|Transport:||Kanda Station (Chuo, Sobu, Ginza lines), east exit|