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Kanada-Ya: Battle of the ramen bars on Panton Street in the West End
Jan 26th 2016 | Written by Baldwin Ho

Kanada-Ya: Battle of the ramen bars on Panton Street in the West End

Panton street might not be the most famous street in the West End, but it is rapidly becoming a must visit place for fans of Asian cuisine. There are Busaba Eathai, the Korean restaurant Yori and the ramen bars Muga and Kanada-Ya. Whilst I haven’t visited Muga (please check out the brilliant review from my colleague, Justina), judging by the long queues outside Kanada-Ya on a regular basis, I know who has been winning the battle of the ramen bars. They are offering bookable tables for groups of 5-7 via WhatsApp for this branch if you want to avoid the queues.KANADA-YA-1

Kanada Kazuhiro, the founder has been perfecting his secret recipe for traditional tonkotsu ramen since 2009 in Yukuhashi, Japan. The 2nd site of Kanada-Ya comes with a more extensive menu compared to when it first opened in London when the only thing to order was pretty much the original ramen and nothing else. Now they have starter options available like chicken karaage and delicious dessert option in the form of matcha soft serve.
With 56 seats, it is bigger than the original one in Holborn but queuing will still be a compulsory part of your Kanada-Ya experience, being one of the most popular ramen bars in London. The venue feels more spacious than it really is with its copious use of natural wood, white-painted walls or earthy brickwork and large spherical lights dotted throughout the ceiling.kanada-ya interiorThe karaage, their Japanese fried chicken really shouldn’t be labelled a side dish. Whilst it is only 4 pieces, the rather chunky nature of each piece of chicken meant a complex carnivorous routine was required involving chopsticks and sharp gnashers. The meat was succulent and moist but the outer coating did lack a certain fresh out of the fryer sizzling crunch.Fried chickenHowever, the real star of the show is their ramen. There is a certain sense that everything has been tried and tasted many times to achieve the optimal results. The ramen noodles are suitably thin and had the right amount of bounce. Ask for the noodles to be cooked firm or extra firm. The chashu pork collar had a fantastic mixture of meat, slight fat and an intensely flavoursome taste. Their secret weapon is the 18 hour pork bone broth. Other rivals have a watery soup base; at Kanada-Ya, it’s a rich broth that has been lovingly cooked for countless hours. I normally don’t drink the ramen soup, but it would be positively a sin, if you didn’t finish this one. My only minor quibble is the truffle taste for my truffle ramen could have been slightly stronger.Kanada Ya Truffle RamenWhen it’s cold, wet and windy outside, don’t even think about going home to cook, because the correct option would be to head to Kanada-Ya for a heartwarming bowl of ramen.