Thursday, 17 March 2016


Hit and miss


When the legendary Koya was closed down last summer, I was wondering if I can find another place in London that offers top notch udon beside its sister venue the Koya Bar. Udon is a big part of a dining culture in Japan, and also a more healthier alternative choice to ramen. So when Japan Centre, the popular Japanese grocery retailer launched Ichiryu, I was generally excited to see how its udon would compare. Ichiryu positioned itself as a Hakata Udon House, specialise in handmade noodles alongside other classic Japanese items such as tempura and hakata bun.

Prawn Tempura
Tonkotsu udon

The prawn tempura was a major disappointment, it was pre cooked in advance and lack seasoning, the only upside was that the prawn itself still tasted fresh. Cod tempura was also decent at best, it tasted very much like your high street chippy's batter cod but not as crunchy or crispy on the batter clothing. Niku beef udon with matcha udon was odd, the sukiyaki beef was marinated wonderfully, containing a good balance of savoury and sweet flavours. But I failed to taste any matcha flavours from the udon, while it was silky in texture, I didn't understand while i would pay the extra £1.50 for the so called "matcha udon" The tonkotsu udon was also a mixed bag, the pork was off dry and tasted rather blanch, however, the ontama egg was simply perfect, it had a lovely smooth and melt in your mouth sensation. 
Niku Beef...
...with matcha udon
It was a hit or miss meal for me, there are some great elements in the cooking but also some questionable things, such as the tempura. With all the experience japan Centre has from its other restaurant business, I would expect Ichiryu to be more polish from the very start. Also, it seems like Ichiryu hasn't nailed what type of customers they are really going after, the take away counter make this place feel like a quick lunch and grab outlet but at the same time, it is charging restaurant price... Also the portion is fairly small if you compare it to other traditional Japanese restaurants in London so be prepare to pay a premium if you are a big eater as one single bowl of udon will not be enough.
Food 2/5

What I paid: 

£9 per head

Average cost without drinks and services:


84 New Oxford St, London WC1A 1HB

Ichiryu Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

1 comment:

  1. When I tried the niku beef the problem was that the beef had no marinade flavour at all so sounds at though that's better now. I thought tempura was OK but but stellar but my cold udon dish was super, a clear winner for me. Didn't have any matcha udon then...