Move aside Udon and Soba, this is the dynasty of ramen.
Such a big statement? Without cringing, we firmly believe Bone Daddies took a traditional asian staple and redefined it to a cool contemporary status, relevant to anyone who could taste beyond sweet and sour. With the name Bone Daddies plastered all over restaurant review sites and in the media, it was difficult for this place not to have fallen onto our radar. Oh yeah and some backing credentials from British rock’s finest Chris Martin and his wife Gwyneth Paltrow.
Tucked away in the side streets of Soho, Bone Daddies was founded by Ross Schonhan – an Aussie chef whose previous lines of work include Nobu and Zuma, just a few names in the international Japanese fine dining scene. So what does BD bring to the table that’s different? Let’s add some meat to the bones shall we?
L: Before going, I was skeptical as to how this ramen bar was going to be portrayed against a backdrop of similar restaurants in the same area (Tonkotsu, Shoryu, Ittenbari). But all my doubts faded away as we were greeted by a team of tatted waiters and a heavy baseline to AC/DC. *Deer in headlight look* I did not expect this. It became clear that BD separates itself as the rebellious middle-child to a finely disciplined family of overachievers.
A: I was intrigued by the dimly lit room, eccentric wallpapers and a long line of neon Shochu sitting above our heads. Looking over my shoulders I noticed how diverse the restaurant’s fan base were, attracting people all over town - students, business men, punk musicians, models, the list goes on. We didn’t have to wait long to be seated either, it was all rock and roll baby, but this was 10PM on a Thursday night…can’t speak for those here a few hours earlier. What I mean is the restaurant does not take bookings, and it’s notorious for long queues.
Every few stools along, you will come across these cute seasoning pots, with the usuals – soy sauce, chilli oil and garlic. We loved the garlic press, our second favourite entertainment to colouring sets from Pizza Express.
L: The clue is in its name, Bone Daddies uses a thick broth made from slow cooking chicken bones as the foundation to its ramens. Layers of chicken, pork, bamboo and nori are then placed over the noodle and broth before leaving the kitchen. The Tonoktsu is the only ramen with pork bone broth that’s been cooked for 20 hours. 真的是千年老汤啊。My eyes then turned to a separate menu of sake cocktails…nice one.
A: As our starter, our soft shell crab consisted of 3 crab halves deep fried in a light and moist batter, and as the name suggests it was soft but enough to hold its own. I’ll take a cock scratching thanks. The T22 is apparently the most popular dish with soy ramen, chicken, seaweed, a boiled egg and a cock scratching. This is a cleaner broth compared to some of the others on the menu. If you want something with a bit more fire in the belly, order what Lu got, never have I seen a girl drink so much water in my life.
L: I’m sure that’s not the first time you’ve said yes to such an exclusive deal. A fan of spicy food, of course I had to get the Tantanmen. The creamy sesame broth was too rich for my liking at first, but then the spiciness kicked in and balanced everything out. I could only remember two extras particularly well amongst those fighting for my attention – the bamboo shoots and the Clarence Court egg, a fancy way of saying an egg with a runny yolk. I couldn’t ask for more out of an egg really, the yolk melted into the noodles and made everything even creamier. Just when I thought it couldn’t get anymore fatty, the red layer floating on top is the chilli oil and it made my lips oh so plump and glossy. Sexy.
Top: Soft Shell Crab + Green Chilli Sauce £8
Middle: T22 with soy ramen, chicken, cock scratchings (chicken bone broth) £9
Bottom: Tantanmen with sesame, chilli, pork mince and bak chou (chicken bone broth) £11
As the old Japanese saying goes ‘you should never be 100% full after a meal, always leave a lingering for more’.
We have yet to discover what that feels like.
The overall experience was fantastic and if you don’t have any commitments the next day, knock back a few watermelon Shochus (Maiken-Me) and head on over to Madam Jojos to finish what the T22 started.
We will without a doubt come back again.
We spent in total £31.50* including service charge
*price excludes drinks
Service : 9/10