Since Kanada-Ya reconciled me with the Ramen scene in London I decided to do a tour of all the Ramen Shop around and write an updated review for each of them.
That means two things: A Ramen Overdose! And that hopefully, from now on, you will find weekly reviews of the Ramen Restaurants of London on the Blog. Stay Tuned!
I decided to start with restaurants recently opened first, and Monohon Ramen was on top of my list.
Monohon Ramen is a Ramen restaurant recently opened in Old street. I have heard great things about their Ramen from one of my picky Japanese (foodie) friend so I decided to give it a try.
I did not have much information about Monohon before visiting the restaurant. The only thing I knew was that the guy behind Monohon is a young entrepreneur passionate about Ramen and Japanese food. Also that he decided to name his restaurant Monohon, which translates as “The Real Thing”, #Promising!
It is time to tell you about my review of Monohon Ramen and their great Shouyu Tonkotsu.
After several pop-up experiences, Monohon has recently opened a proper Ramen shop in Old street.
Monohon Ramen has been founded by Ian Wheatly a young entrepreneur, passionate about Japanese food, who decided to leave the corporate life to enter the fascinating world of Ramen and Restauration.
After spending quite some time in the land of the rising sun, Ian felt in love with the Ramen shop experience in Japan. (If you have visited Japan too it is hard not to agree).
To realise his dream and vision, Ian had to go back to Japan to learn from scratch. He ate a lot of Ramen (good way to educate your taste), spent some time at a Ramen School; And learned the hard way: by trial and error in his own kitchen.
Following that, Ian Wheatly first launched Monohon Ramen in 2015 as a pop-up up joint serving bowls of Ramen around East London. Several months later, he managed to find a place for rent and opened his own Ramen Restaurant at 102 Old Street.
The Restaurant at Old Street is a lovely place with a capacity of around twenty seats (a mix of 2 seats tables and large counters).
You can read more about the story of Monohon on their website.
The menu at Monohon Ramen is both available in English and Japanese. I don’t know if it is a marketing strategy or if they really expect a lot of Japanese customers, but it is nice to see.
Their offer is composed of 3 variations of ramen based on a Shouyu tonkutsu broth :
- The classic Shouyu Tonkotsu: Umami-infused soy-sauce seasoning ‘tare’ with creamy pork bone soup.
- The Spicy Tonkotsu which is the Shouyu Tonkotsu combined with Spicy miso pork mince.
- The Big Boy Special which is an XXL version of the Shouyu Tonkutsu; a Large portion of the Shouyu Tonkotsu with all the toppings, an extra egg and spicy pork mince.
For each of these options, you can select the hardness of your noodles from regular to very hard. Also for the spicy tonkotsu version and the Big Boy Special you can select the level of spiciness (Low – Mid and high).
In addition to the ramen, you can order the usual extra toppings such as seasoned egg (Ajitsuke tamago), toasted nori, extra slice of pork,…. They also offer Kaedama which is usually ordered as a second portion of noodles in order to finish your broth.
In addition to their Ramen Monohon serves 3 additional Soup-less dishes :
- The Abura Soba: Thick, bouncy ramen noodles on a sesame-oil based ‘tare’ with lots of toppings
- Taiwan Maze a Soba : Spicy, garlicky Nagoya style soup-less ramen
- Hiyashi Chuka; Chilled ramen salad with tomato, cucumber, ham, omelette strips, soft-boiled and seasoned egg, bean sprouts, spring onions and a choice of soy or sesame vinaigrette. (A must have during the hot days of summer!)
In regards to the Drinks, Monohon Ramen has a great variety of Japanese drinks to go with your Food, whether it is Japanese beer, Sake, Shochu Cocktails, Teas or the delicious Calpis.
My review: The Shouyu Tonkotsu
When entering Monohon Ramen you are automatically greeted with a friendly Irasshaimmase (いらっしゃいませ！) The usual greeting you hear when visiting a restaurant in Japan. It simply translates as Welcome! But every time i hear that it brings me back to Japan and the amazing food experience i had there.
The day i visited Monohon was a late Saturday afternoon, the restaurant was not packed, there were just a few Japanese people calmly slurping their Ramen.
It was time to make a choice, In fact it was already made, I have been recommended to try the Shouyu Tonkotsu, even though, the glutton I am could not get his eyes of the “BIG BOY SPICY SPECIAL ”on the menu.
The service was quick, it probably took them 5 minutes to bring me my bowl of Ramen, just the time to check what was happening on Instagram and Twitter.
Here comes the review :
Broth: The broth was good, it came hot, had a nice balance, not too fatty, creamy, good Umami. Perfect level of saltiness for my taste thanks to the Shouyu. (It is still lacking the depth i am looking for when eating a proper ramen, but it seems to be the same with all the Ramen in London. Don’t get me wrong it is a really good broth and you will probably slurp it until the end as i did).
Noodles: They are really good, nice texture and taste. The noodles are supposed to be made in-house every day with flour imported from Japan
Pork: The Chashu served with the Ramen was ok but nothing exceptional. A bit dry when served, i wish it was more tender (but you know the trick, try to let it simmer for a moment in the broth and it should improves. Even tho it was still a bit dry in the end). Great ratio of meat vs Fat.
Toppings: The good part about the toppings is that if you wish to add a lot of toppings to your Ramen, you just need to order the Zenbu Nose (translation: everything on). They fill your bowl with a great selection of Toppings (Nori, Egg, Ginger, mushrooms and extra slice of Chashu).
Size: The regular is a perfect size if you have an average appetite. It does the job as you would expect from any decent ramen. The good news at Monohon Ramen is that you can choose if you want to go for a regular or large portion when ordering your Ramen. And if you finish your noodles and still have some broth left, you can always reorder some extra noodles (Kaedama).
Price: £11 for the Regular Shouyu Tonkotsu Ramen, plus an extra £3.50 for the toppings and £1.45 of service charge. We have a total of £15.95 which is around the average for Ramen in London.
Overall: If Kanada is considered by a lot of Foodie the best Ramen in London I guess we have a pretty good contender for the title with Monohon Ramen. They have everything to please Ramen lovers, a delicious Ramen, a friendly and efficient service, and a lovely atmosphere. Let’s hope they work hard and get the success they deserve!
“I knew it was a Win the moment I entered Monohon Ramen and Nujabes was playing in the background.
The Shouyu Tonkotsu at Monohon Ramen is a good and proper Ramen. A must try if you are a Ramen enthusiast!
Monohon Ramen will probably become a reference in London in the years to come.”
Price for value: 4/5
The Restaurant: 4/5
102 Old Street
London EC1V 9AY
Opening Hours :
- Monday to Friday : 12:00 – 14:30 / 18:00 – 22:00
- Saturday : 18:00 – 22:00
- Sunday: Closed