As a welcome antidote to seasonal turkey and stuffing, one of Japan’s leading ramen chefs, Masatoshi Ogata, will be bringing his acclaimed restaurant Yamagoya to London for a six-month residency, opening on December 5. Hosted by Shuang Shuang in Shaftesbury Avenue, it will be the first time that Ogata has brought his ramen to the UK – and it is the real deal.
In the 1960s, Ogata was a lorry driver with a passion for noodles. His job allowed him to sample ramen all over Japan, and in 1969 he took that knowledge and opened Yamagoya – meaning mountain hut – in Fukuoka, the fifth largest city in Japan. He built the restaurant himself from scratch using scrap wood and in London the restaurant interior will be a replica of his original restaurant, with a stripped-back feel of shoji wood panelling.
The menu starts with dishes that include chicken karaage with yuzu mayo (£6.50) and okra in plum sauce (£3). But it is the Yamagoya ramen (£12.50), handmade noodles with Japanese chashu pork belly, marinated bamboo shoot, kikurage mushroom, nori and marinated Burford Brown egg immersed in a smoky tonkotsu broth that makes the visit. Another highlight of the seven choices is the Yuzukara ramen (£13) – noodles layered with sliced chashu pork and topped with a salty, spicy paste made from the zest of Japanese yuzu and fiery green chillies to create a green broth. Diners can choose their extra toppings from chashu pork or chicken and marinated tofu, sharp, crunchy kimchi, umami nori sheets and takana-zuke pickled mustard leaves.
With delicious food like this – this ramen joint is sure to be rammed.