Welcome to a new episode of Ramen Escapade where your host, Le Captain Foodie, walks you around London to review the best and worst Ramen Restaurants.
In quest of the tastiest Ramen of London; I went this weekend to Brick Lane street food market and tried the Tonkotsu Ramen at KOI Ramen Bar. This ramen shop is famous for offering the cheapest Ramen in London.
Here is my review of their Tonkotsu Pork Ramen.
KOI Ramen bar:
Started in Brixton station Road as a street food stall, KOI Ramen bar’s ambition has always been to democratize Ramen in London. Their idea is to bring the real Japanese experience of Ramen, which means a cheap and affordable meal available for everyone. To quote the founder, KOI’s Ramen goal is to provide: “Great ramen at a great price in a great environment”.
With a very competitive price starting at £6 a Ramen; KOI Ramen wants to dissociate their Ramen from the other, more expensive, Ramen Restaurants you would find in London.
KOI Ramen bar has currently three locations: the original one is still in Brixton station Road; Another one at Tooting Market, and a pop-up food stall every Sunday at Brick Lane market.
They also partner with delivery services such as Uber Eats and Deliveroo. (Fresh Ramen at home anyone?)
In order to bring their operating costs down, KOI Ramen exclusively operates with food stalls. We are far away from the Ramen restaurants you would find around Soho and Covent Garden but the experience makes it more affordable and authentic.
You can see in the pictures below the stall they have at Brick Lane Market. There are three persons in charge of the stall, two cooks and a waitress taking the orders. It is a well organised small kitchen with several large stock pots for the broth (picture on the right), and a small grill for the Chashu (picture on the left). The chef is really meticulous and he ensures that critical element such as noodles are cooked right on point while preparing your Ramen.
The Ramen is then served in a paperboard soup pot ready to take away.
As you can see in the picture above, the menu at KOI Ramen is pretty simple, they offer 3 different types of Ramen at an unbeatable price of £6.50 : Tonkotsu Pork, Miso Tofu and Miso Pork
You then have the possibility to order the usual Extras with your ramen : Nitamago (marinated egg), extra Chashu, tofu or noodles.
They also sell fresh gyoza from £4.50
My Review: The Tonkotsu pork Ramen
I don’t know about you but every time i visit Brick Lane street food Market, my brain goes Glutton Mode Activated and i just want to stop at every food stall to order something to eat.
This time was a sunny Saturday afternoon (quite rare during this month of August…). I went to the gym before going to Brick Lane Market so i was pretty hungry when i arrived. Needless to say that i was impatient to try KOI’s tonkotsu Ramen.
Brick Lane Market was crowded (as every weekend) and luckily enough, people were not queuing at the KOI Ramen’s food stall so i managed to order and be served in approximately 5 minutes.
Then it was time to find a place to sit and dig in :
Broth: First sip of the broth, it is served at perfect temperature. The broth is well balanced, creamy, rich, flavourful. Nice! Certainly one of the tastiest Tonkotsu broth available in London.
Noodles: I quickly slurped the fresh noodles before they overcook in the broth and become mushy. Great texture and taste. Right thickness, they capture pretty well the flavor of the broth when you eat them.
Pork: The Chashu was good, not dry nor exceptionally tasty. My only disappointment regarding the Chashu is that they served my Ramen with only a single slice of Chashu (A bit light!). Next time i will order some extras.
Toppings: Great toppings to accompany the Ramen. I added an extra egg (the usual). It was well cooked and delicious.
Also, concerning the toppings, you can ask to add Red ginger pickles, Sesame or Chilli oil at no extra costs right before they serve your Ramen (which is a plus for me #GingerAddict).
Size: Despite the fact that the Ramen is served in a paperboard soup pot instead of a bowl; The serving at KOI Ramen bar is more than sufficient. Great toppings, Lots of noodles and enough broth to fill your belly. You won’t be starving after that.
Price: With an unbeatable price of £7 for the Tonkotsu Pork Ramen plus an additional Nitimago. KOI Ramen’s Tonkotsu is the cheapest Ramen of London at the moment.
Overall: A pretty good experience with the Tonkotsu at KOI Ramen Bar. I really like the concept of selling their Ramen at a food stall. We are back to the traditional way of eating Ramen in Japan.
With a pretty simple set up, KOI Ramen manages to offer a delicious Tonkotsu Ramen. It is without a doubt the best Ramen restaurant in regards to price for value in London.
“KOI Ramen Bar brings the traditional spirit of Ramen in London:
A simple food stall,
A delicious Tonkotsu Ramen,
An unbeatable price
Next time you visit Brick Lane i absolutely recommend you to stop at their Stall and enjoy a delicious and inexpensive Tonkotsu.
Price for value: 5/5
Koi Ramen Bar – Brick Lane
Brick Lane Market, 178B Brick Lane
E16 6SA London
Opening Hours :
- Sunday: 11:00 – 16:00