An old Japanese ramen chef said this to Emma and Ken, when they first went to Japan after opening our first Tonkotsu in Soho in 2012.
We didn’t make our own noodles at first but as soon as we heard this in Tokyo, everything changed and the rest is history.
We make all our noodles fresh every day and you can even watch our noodles being made in our Noodle Room at Tonkotsu East, in Haggerston.
Not only do we make our own noodles, but also our broths, katsu curries, gyoza and sides are made from scratch, so you can rest assured that our heart and soul goes into every bowl.
We’re also proud to serve Dingley Dell Pork and Clarence Court Eggs.
WHERE IT ALL BEGAN…
Ken and Emma met in 2002 and became great friends over their shared love of travelling and food, more specifically Japanese food and in particular ramen. Over the years, they realised it was very difficult to find decent ramen in London, so they began on a mission to sort that out themselves…
They started out in 2011 with a Saturday night pop-up in the city. 30 people came through the doors at the very first pop-up, but just ten weeks later they had 120, with tickets selling out within minutes.
Friday nights were spent prepping – bubbling broth for hours (with condensation running down the windows of Emma’s flat) making chashu and gyoza fillings, whilst drinking a couple of beers and talking about opening their first ramen restaurant. Then they’d be up at 6am on the Saturday to move all the ingredients to the pop-up restaurant, handmake 400 gyozas and get ready for the first sitting, with their adrenaline pumping.
Ken and Emma made a different ramen every week, each from a different region of Japan. People loved it, and they knew they were onto something, which gave them the confidence to go and find a location for our first restaurant – and in 2012 Tonkotsu Soho was born!
It’s not just ramen we’re obsessed with. We love all the things that go alongside our noodles to make them extra slurpable. Visit any of our restaurants, and there’s no way you’ll miss our Great Taste 2-star award-winning Eat the Bits chilli oil and chilli ketchup. All our condiments are vegan friendly, all natural and contain no nasties; and are the perfect condiment to add a smoky umami kick to any meal.
And to wash down those noodles? There’s nothing better than slurping down a piping hot bowl of ramen, accompanied by an icy-cool beer. That’s why we teamed up with the experts at Thornbridge Brewery to create our Mikan Shimoda Pale Ale – the ultimate beer to enjoy with your ramen. Mikan refers to the Japanese Satsuma and Shimoda is a nod to where Ken is originally from, a beautiful town on the tip of the Izu peninsula in Shizuoka, Japan.
We have a few more restaurants now, but for us it’s about the same thing as it always was, bringing you real ramen, and we have incredible team of people who love ramen just as much as we do who help to make that happen.
We can’t wait to slurp with you soon!