Japanese Ramen

Sichuan Cuisine


Location & Opening Hours

In the heart of Spitalfields, a few minutes walking distance from Aldgate East Underground, Liverpool Street Station or Shoreditch High Street Station.

75 Commercial Street, London E1 6BD
Monday-Friday: 12:00-14:15 | 18:00-21:30, Saturday: 18:00-21:30

Apologies in advance but we are unable to take bookings.

Our Story

We are a team of Le Cordon Bleu alumni, chefs, entrepreneurs and technologists brought together by our love for ramen.

Passionate about increasing awareness of Chinese origins of ramen we strive to uphold the quality of authentic modern-day East Asian food in London.

Dishes we serve do not shy away from pronounced and exciting, sometimes unfamiliar flavours. We use locally sourced meats and over 30 different ingredients imported from Japan and China to create our own stocks, seasonings, special umami-enhancing spice mixes and oil infusions. Ingredients you can always find on our kitchen shelves include katsuobushi (dried fermented smoked skipjack tuna flakes), kombu seaweed, shiitake mushrooms, dried fish and shellfish, red chilli peppers and, of course, Sichuan peppercorns.

Journey to Japan and China

After about 6 months of developing our recipes we realised we were, frankly, out of our depth. It was clear we had a lot to learn to be able to recreate those authentic, delicately balanced flavours we so fondly remember from our trips to Japan. We needed help.

In summer 2019 we reached out to an award-winning Japanese Ramen Master from Tokyo, a few days later we packed our bags and were on a plane to Japan. Slurrrrrping as many bowls of ramen we could every day to learn as much as possible we filled our stomachs with everything from hearty Sapporo’s miso ramen to porky tonkotsu bowls from Fukuoka and everything in between.

Full of impressions we finally met with Sensei, a true veteran with 25 years in the industry. He took us on a journey through ramen history, unravelled the science behind umami, classic and modern ramen preparation methods and gracefully shared many of his secrets with us. While discussing the origins of ramen we were surprised to realise how seldom celebrated its Chinese heritage is these days.

Without doubt, it is the attention to detail, refinements and modern techniques used by the Japanese that have made ramen we all know today. Yet, it is the resourcefulness of Chinese immigrants who brought first alkaline noodles to Japan that enabled the ramen revolution.

We believe Tantan Men - a Japanese ramen version of a classic Sichuan dish Dandan Mien (担担面) - captures this transition perfectly.

We have made it the star of our menu and teamed up with Sensei to develop our own recipe using authentic ingredients and traditional preparation methods. We carefully studied ratios of different umami acids and used refractometers to experiment with intensities of our soups, oils and seasonings to find that perfect balance of flavours, aromas and mouthfeel.

In search for authenticity we again packed our bags and in 2019 travelled to Chengdu, the capital of China's Sichuan province. We visited local Sichuan peppercorn producers, spice markets and wholesalers in an attempt to learn more about Sichuan cuisine and source authentic, freshest ingredients we can get our hands on.

We are excited to bring this unique dish to London, shed some light on ramen's Chinese origins, and hopefully make our small contribution to the wonderful world of East Asian cuisine in the West.

A Brief History of Ramen

First ramen-like dishes appeared in Japan in 1858 when the country opened its ports to foreign trade. Chinese immigrants who settled in Japan as interpreters and traders spread their culinary culture by bringing alkaline noodles and new spices with them.

The first specialised Japanese ramen (ラーメン) shop opened in 1910 and the rest is, well, history.

The name ramen is a Japanese transcription of the Chinese word lamian (拉麺 meaning hand pulled noodles), however Japanese ramen noodles are cut and not pulled. Ramen noodles are made of just four basic ingredients - wheat flour, water, salt and kansui, an alkaline salt. Kansui (枧水 meaning Kan water) is what gives ramen noodles their signature odour, colour, firmness and slippery qualities. Today it's usually added in a form of lye water or powder.

The story is that first alkaline noodles were made in China using water from the lake Kan, which is highly alkaline. Ramen which does not use alkaline noodles cannot be called ramen in Japan - in fact it's called Udon.

Until recently the words Shina or Chuka (中華 meaning China) and Soba (そば meaning noodles - not to be confused with buckwheat) were used to describe ramen in Japan. Chuka Soba was usually a clear, soy seasoned ramen with meaty broth and roast pork topping. In fact, a lot of ramen shops in Japan still serve it, however many have changed the name to Shoyu Ramen (soy seasoned ramen) instead.

We are proud to have Chuka Soba on our menu, which is made following Sensei's traditional recipe.

Another historic dish that inspired us is called Dandan Mien (担担面 meaning Dandan noodles). A long long time ago in the city of Chengdu in China's Sichuan province vendors carried noodles and tasty spicy sauces over their shoulders on a bamboo pole and served them up in small bowls right in the street. Dandan noodles were a street food staple, unfortunately due to rapid changes sweeping through China and local bylaws shops that serve good Dandan noodles are hard to find today.

It is less clear when Tantan Men first appeared on the menus in Japan, but we know for sure that it's our favourite. Tantan Men can be found in shops all over Tokyo, and it made its place on the culinary map of Japan in 2017 when it was by reimagined by Nakiryu, the second ramen restaurant in Tokyo to be awarded a Michelin star. Our Tantan Men combines thin ramen noodles with numbing Sichuan peppercorns and home-made Hong You chilli oil, balanced together against nutty sesame and double soup base - YUM!

Want to learn more?

Ramen history is long and complex, and as with anything there are many versions - and tales accompanying them. To learn more about ramen we highly recommend checking out the Japanese version of Rapedia on the Yokohama Ramen Museum website.