Sunday, 16 December 2012

Bone Daddies

If you haven't heard of Bone Daddies yet, it's not a rib shack or a steakhouse as the name might immediately suggest; it's a newcomer to London's burgeoning noodle scene. However if you're a foodie then you'll already know that Aussie Ross Shonhan, formerly head chef at Zuma and Nobu, has combined his love of Japanese food with the party-hard vibe of Soho and opened a no-reservation ramen restaurant where the pork bone broth base is cooked for 20 hours.

This place is also nothing like the exquisite, temple-food calm of nearby udon restaurant Koya; Bone Daddies is loud and kicking, with classic rock blaring and conversations buzzing from Soho's finest, squashed together at communal tables and knocking back the sake and cocktails. The tiny interior is stripped back and decorated with pictures of Japanese rockabillies; you're not going to want to perch on one of the stools for an entire evening but it's a perfect place to start a night out, or to end one.

We started with the soft shell crab. This was an immediate winner; deliciously crisp with a delicately soft interior, served with a punchy green chilli and ginger dip. Now is probably a good time to tell you that if you're not a fan of spicy food, let the staff know and ask for recommendations as the flavours here are big, bold and in your face.

The staff, on the other hand, are incredibly friendly and chatty and will happily help with anything you need. To drink we had some warm sake, served in a flask sitting in hot water, plus a fresh carrot and ginger juice; both were good.
For mains we went for the T22, a chicken bone broth base with soy ramen, chicken and cock scratchings - don't worry, they are in fact little nuggets of crispy fried chicken skin and add an interesting crunch to the dish - and the Tantanmen, dan-dan noodles piled in a chicken bone broth with pork mince, sesame, chilli and bok choy.

There are lots of options for customising your food; you can order extra meat, vegetables, egg or noodles from the menu (we did try an extra egg in the T22 but I doubt you'd want extra noodles) plus there is a fabulous range of condiments on the table including garlic and presses, and a sesame grinder. You can even order a pipette of pork fat to add flavour but I honestly don't think it needs it; my Tantanmen was wonderful, a rich and creamy sesame  base and a big chilli kick, perfectly cooked egg and spicy pork adding taste and texture.

Bone Daddies is a welcome addition to a part of London already blessed with some of the best restaurants around; my visit was an early evening pre-drinking stop, but I can see this becoming a staple for late night hangover prevention. If you start with the homemade pickles or miso soup and stick to tap water you can slurp your way through any of the warming noodle dishes and be on your way for less than £15 - just what you need at this time of year.

Yours, rocking the ramen,
Girl About Town xx

Square Meal
Bone Daddies on Urbanspoon

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