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Fool that I am, until recently my experience of Japanese food has mainly been sushi based. A lovely cuisine, to be sure, but not particularly hearty as the seasons turn and a chill grips the air.

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Restaurant info:

Tonkotsu

63 Dean Street

W1D 4QG

Tube: Leicester Square/tottenham Court Road

Tel: 020 7437 0071

Web: www.tonkotsu.co.uk

Mains: from £9

Beers: from £4

Children welcome: Yes

Disabled access: No

That was until I spent a happy lunchtime in Tontoksu, however, and discovered the delights of the Ramen – noodles served in broth.

Rumour has it that Ramen joints outnumber sushi places significantly in Tokyo and it’s easy to see why – Tontoksu’s small menu is packed with some large flavours.

To get going we had a crunchy bean sprout salad, followed by a delicious chicken karaage. Worthy of particular note were the fantastic home made gyoza – gorgeous prawn and pork dumplings packed with spicy goodness.

Of the Ramen itself, there were three varieties – clear, soy-based and vegetarian. We went for the clear broth which was unbelievably tasty. It came with pork, vegetables, noodles, even a soft-boiled egg and was a rich, filling, satisfying dish. If I had any criticism, the noodles were a bit stodgy – but they are about to start making their own on-site so this won’t be a problem for long.

Although the place was fairly quiet on our lunchtime visit, the queue of hungry diners can snake out of the door on some evenings. Tonkotsu is definitely worth the wait.

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