This ramen bar used to specialise in tsukemen, the ‘dry’ noodle and soup combo. But since the autumn of 2014 they’ve innovated with a dish that mixes traditional paitan (slow-cooked chicken soup, in this case simmered for two days) with niboshi, small dried anchovies. Blue-on-white boxes of these niboshi teeter between the plate glass window and the diners, like a Hokusai wave ready to break. But it’s the aroma of the fish that hits you first: pungent like a freshly opened tin of anchovies, yet the salty stock tastes mainly of umami savouriness. If this sounds too fishy, a different version of the soup is seasoned chicken paitan. The standard toppings include a big curl of roast pork, chicken meatball, chicken breast, nori sheet and a mizuna leaf garnish. You pay before eating, selecting from the ticket machine near the entrance; it’s written in Japanese only, but the pictures make it clear enough.
Meal for two: from around ¥1,500
|Venue name:||Ramen Koike|
4-19-18 Kamikitazawa, Setagaya-ku
|Opening hours:||11.30am-3pm, 6pm-9pm Sat-Thu / closed Fri, first and third Thu of every month|
|Transport:||Kamikitazawa Station (Keio line)|