The arrival of Tonkotsu’s only offering outside London – in the form of a Selfridges noodle bar – has been eagerly awaited by the population of Brum. With the help of an amazing ‘I Choose Birmingham’ 50% off voucher, I went to see what all the fuss was about.
On arrival, we ordered a beer & a cocktail. There were only a couple of cocktails available, but with flavours of gin and elderflower over subtle notes of cardamom and Earl Grey, the ‘My Friend Martin’ was beautiful and I would probably have picked it off a larger menu anyway. Unfortunately the beer we ordered got forgotten about and we had to ask again, but as it had been open less than a week I’ll forgive them a few teething problems.
We ordered the Tonkotsu Ramen and Chicken Katsu Curry, and as it was 50% off we went all out on sides and ordered Salt and Shanso Pepper Squid, Chicken Kara-age (marinated fried chicken) and pork gyoza.
THE GOOD: The ramen. The pork was perfectly cooked, the homemade noodles were fantastic and the whole dish was packed with flavour. The fried chicken left us fighting over the last piece and the chicken katsu curry was, as ever, the ultimate comfort food. Their signature ‘Eat the Bits’ chilli oil has a lovely rich flavour (although I could handle a bit more chilli!)
THE BAD LESS GOOD: I wasn’t a fan of the gyoza, they were a little stodgy and cold whereas I prefer them served hot. The salt and pepper squid portion was small for £6 and could have been saltier.
Price wise, without the offer our meal would have come to just under £50 (with the offer it was around £29) – for me, if I was spending this on dinner I’d prefer to go to a restaurant. However if I was in town shopping I would love to stop here and grab a ramen bowl for lunch instead of the usual sandwich.
Tonkotsu are famous for their ramen and on this front they definitely delivered. Whether you are a diehard ramen fan or have never tried it, my advice would be to get down to Selfridges and let Tonkotsu show you how it’s done.