Selfridges foodhall has never been a place that I’ve particularly felt the need to eat at – if I want a break from shopping to have a meal, I generally want to get out of the shops. This being said, when I was invited down to try the new Ramen bar, Tonkotsu, in the department store, I decided to keep an open mind. Maybe some fantastic food would stop the setting from mattering! I’d heard some good things about the new restaurant, which is the first of the chain outside of London, so was looking forward to trying it out, even if I’m not particularly an expert in Japanese cuisine!
The restaurant has a funky, laid back vibe to it, with brightly coloured bar stools and bright lighting. The staff were friendly and very happy to explain the menu to us. We started off with a couple of cocktails (neither of which, unfortunately, we can remember the names of), from the small selection. Jack opted for a short strong drink made with whiskey and ginger wine, which had a real kick to it and went beautifully with the meal. I had a gin-based long drink with elderflower, which was a bit sweet for me and I was hoping the flavours might have been more complex, but it was still refreshing to sip on.
The nature of the place meant the food menu was fairly small, but everything on it looked tempting. We ordered a couple of sides which came as starters, both of which were great. Jack had edamame beans which were lovely and fresh and were left to speak for themselves. I had the salt and sansha pepper squid, which was crispy and seasoned perfectly. Chi Kitchen do this dish but served with sweet chilli sauce, and I have to say I preferred it kept simple drizzled in lemon juice.
For his main Jack went for the prawn katsu curry. I had wanted this BADLY, as I’d heard great things, but it being a ramen restaurant it would have been wrong for neither of us to try the ramen! As we expected, the katsu curry was gorgeous; the sauce was thick and fruity, with a generous ratio to the rice. The prawns were coated in panko breadcrumbs giving them a crispy shell before you reached the soft tender prawns.
When choosing the ramen, I was disappointed to find that the seafood ramen that I had my eye on was made with chicken stock, and that they couldn’t make this differently for me. I was left with the option of miso and shimeji mushroom ramen, topped with seasoned egg and vegetables. The noodles were clearly freshly made and the broth was comforting and had absorbed an earthy mushroom-y flavour. If you’re a ramen lover then I imagine you’ll find yourself very pleased with what Tonkotsu has to offer, however I found myself becoming very bored of what quickly became of bowl of noodles and watery broth. I also noticed that the mushroom ramen was the same price (£11) as the pork, chicken and seafood options, which didn’t seem justified.
Overall, if you’re a fan of japenese food and are looking for a pit-stop whilst shopping, then Tonkotsu is worth a try. I’m not personally a fan of eating in the middle of a shop, especially if I’m paying the same as at a regular restaurant, but I understand some people love the hustle and bustle of this style of dining. Ramen is also a great healthy option if you’re looking to eat out without indulging! Thanks to Tonkotsu for having us!