Restaurant review: Tonkotsu East, Haggerston, E2
PUBLISHED: 12:18 05 February 2014 | UPDATED: 12:18 05 February 2014
If neighbouring Trip Kitchen is bare, Tonkotsu East is a much slicker affair. A lovely looking outdoor dining area dominates the approach, although probably not one for the depths of January.
1a Dunston Street
T; 020 7254 2478
Mains: Ramen from £9
Wine: from £16 a bottle
And inside the brick walls are softened with huge hanging lampshades, Japanse nick-nacks, a large open kitchen and even a noodle-making machine in its own little room. .
The east branch is the sister restaurant of a Soho eatery of the same name and like the original the main meals are all ramen – a hearty Japanese noodle broth.
If soup doesn’t float your boat though, there are a healthy collection of sides, all of which looked delicious.
Restraining ourselves, however, we tucked into the fried chicken karage, which had a hint of KFC about it, but came alive with garlic ginger and chilli dip. The salt and pepper squid had a lovely, unrubbery consistency, but the batter could have used more seasoning.
Meanwhile the gyoza dumplings were fantastic –meaty fillings full or fire and perfect for dipping into the rich dark soy,
Despite being a fan of ramen in general – and the ones at the Soho branch – these were a bit of a let down.
The Tokyo variety was initially a taste sensations, but very quickly became too rich with massive chunks of tender, but very salty pork belly. A massive bowlful was just too much.
On the other hand the Tonkotsu was a bit bland –nice enough and full of thin sliced pig, but it was vaguely reminiscent of a Heinz big soup. Somewhere between the two would have been perfect.
Either way, Tonkotsu East is still a lovely place to visit – great venue, starters and cocktails are reasons enough even if was the big broth makes you say “enryo shimasu”.
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