When my friends suggested visiting Sasuke Ramen at County Hall on the Southbank for a pre-theatre quick bite, I had the impression this would be the kind of one-man operation, cosy noodle bar you frequently see on the streets of Tokyo. Hence, I was pleasantly surprised to discover their spacious dining space and the rather extensive food menu on offer.
There is a sushi/noodle bar counter with well-cushioned black leather seating but also plenty of tables dotted throughout the dining space with Japanese posters displayed ostentatiously on their walls in case you were in any confusion on what kind of cuisine they might be offering.
I opted for their eel omelette which I’ve never tried before anywhere else and it worked unsurprisingly well with the sweetness added to the eggs contrasting well with the briny taste of the eel. Vegetable gyoza was adequate according to my guest but less inspiring than my choice of appetiser. Although they should get someone to proof-read their menus, as a dish of “Aborigine with sweet miso” did bring some chuckles.
The starters also have an extensive section with nigiri and maki sushi, agedashi tofu, Japanese fried chicken and even the popular snack dish in Japan, octopus balls. This is far more than you would ever get at a typical Ramen bar in Tokyo.
The vegetable croquette curry was much loved by my vegetarian guest: the curry was flavoursome but mild enough to not damage your palate and generously portioned so you can soak up the whole plate of steamed rice.
Whilst there are plenty of options here, the star attraction is the ramen noodles here. We tried a variety of their noodles and they were all of exceptional quality. Tsuke ramen isn’t offered in most Japanese restaurants in London: it’s cold noodles offered with a dipping bowl of hot soup. The thick noodles were supremely bouncy perhaps from the fact you aren’t soaking them for a lengthy period in a bowl of soup. The seafood flavoured soup still added plenty of umami greatness to the noodles. It came with 3 generous slices of chashu pork which had a tasty, thin layer of fat which is requisite for the very best ramen noodles. For the very best way to complete your ramen experience, add half a special ramen egg as well as nori to get an authentic experience. Traditional options with ramen served in a rich broth are also available.