9 months ago

Here’s what we thought about the brand new Tonkotsu on Clapham High Street

The Japanese ramen restaurant has opened on Clapham High Street and it’s already proving popular with the locals. Here’s what we thought.

Tonkotsu has opened on Clapham High Street and we are really happy about it. Though this is their 13th site in London there is nothing unlucky about it; this restaurant specialises in ramen (they make their own noodles in house) and is known for their incredibly addictive ‘eat the bits’ chilli sauce. We couldn’t wait to dig in…

First things first: the team here deserve a huge shout out. They’ve taken like ducks to water to the space and have come ready to get stuck in to their new neighbourhood. It’s an incredibly smooth operation too; the food came out efficiently and with a smile- there’s clearly a great vibe between the kitchen and front of house crew and it makes the atmosphere of the restaurant even more enjoyable. The site itself is lovely; it’s relaxed with lots of booth seating for parties of all sizes and the decor is light and airy. It manages to be exactly the kind of place you want to visit when you want a chilled evening meal with a mate or even a weekday solo lunch for one when you’re after something different than your usual Pret sammy.

We visited on a Thursday lunchtime and were impressed to see the place so buzzy. There were tables full of mums with babies, solo diners, friends catching up…Tonkotsu is already popular with Clapham. As it was a Thursday lunchtime we decided to stay away from the cocktails (though we can confirm that the nori chilli margarita is a phenomenal drink), and went for the ginger and sansho soda and yuzu lemonade instead. These grown up fizzy drinks were fantastic- the ginger had a nice warmth to it without being over powering and the yuzu lemonade was zingy and refreshing.

For mains we had to get a ramen, and the Tokyo ramen came with the two big slices of pork belly, bamboo shoots, half an egg (cooked to that ideal jammy, oozy consistency) and lots of garnishes like spring onions and sesame seeds. It’s obvious why Tonkotsu have such a loyal following for their ramens; it was an absolute delight. A properly savoury chicken broth flavoured with soy sauce made for a comforting soupy base to the whole dish that propped up the rest of the dish and let the quality of the ingredients shine. We also got the chicken and courgette katsu curry which was a dark horse in the whole meal- we really enjoyed it. Big chunks of chicken and courgette were fried to a nicely crisp consistency which added a nice bit of crunch to go with the rice and silky katsu sauce. The Japanese slaw it was served with was a pop of brightness to lift the curry making it incredibly moorish.

You’re not doing Tonkotsu right unless you order a couple of sides too; we got the tangy kimchi (which, unlike many restaurants, is vegan), the iconic chicken kara-age and the shiitake and bamboo shoot gyozas. All three were terrific and we appreciated that there’s a jar of chilli oil on every table so you can help yourself depending on your spice tolerance. If you like it spicy, ladle this stuff on to everything- it’s so good.

What a meal! Everything was as delicious as we were hoping it would be and we are already looking forward to many more visits (and hungover Deliveroos) to come. Welcome to Clapham, Tonkotsu!

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