Restaurant review: United Ramen, Islington, N1
- Credit: Archant
United Ramen is the latest pioneer championing an increasingly popular Japanese dish which outsells sushi in Tokyo, and has taken New York by storm.
The restaurant is true to its Japanese origins and has the feel of a modern, established, high end chain, with walls emblazoned with unique and colourful designs.
This flair is also exhibited in the food with sides like the handmade pork gyoza, beautifully seasoned pig at the heart of a light but meaty dumpling.
We also sampled a special for the day – chicken wings with a salty and delicately spiced glaze which dangled from the tiny bones.
This was the perfect introduction before we took on the ramen, which on its own makes a large and wholesome lunch – and requires 10 or 15 minutes of slurping to reach the bottom of the bowl.
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Chinese-inspired spicy Sichaun tantanmen with spiced ground pork is alive with chilli and sesame flavours, a rich and thick broth which clings to the thick noodles.
With the spicy miso salmon ramen, the fish is marinated for 48 hours, leaving it with punchy, sweet flavours and perfectly browned on the outside. The accompanying vegetable broth with thick noodles is given an extra kick with kimchi dressing.
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However, the dessert was the defining moment of this meal, with a revelation known as mochi or “Little Moons”.
These stretchy hollow rice balls are somehow filled with delicious flavoured ice-cream and lavish cake centres before being coated in delicious sweet “moon dust”.
The ice cream flavours of mango and chilli and yuzu are beautifully refreshing palate cleansers while the richer, more decadent chocolate ganache and strawberry cheesecake variety are the epitome of modern twists on classics.
The best of the moons, however, are the coconut and the raspberry ice creams, which combine a cool refreshing blast with the deliciously full fruit flavour.
Another interesting concept borrowed from Asia is the bubble-tea-ni, a sweet sea of jasmine, green tea, vodka, lychee and honey with a bed of chewy tapioca balls which occasionally fly up your straw.