Restaurant review: Tonkotsu East, Haggerston, E2
- Credit: Archant
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.
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.
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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.
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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”.