Ramo Ramen (Filipino, Japanese) – Camden, LondonHALAL STATUS Fully Halal food menu • Alcohol served
Camden’s Ramo Ramen has been, quite admittedly, a long time coming, especially after our review of the impressive Umami in Ealing, west London, earlier this year.
While Umami’s fantastic chicken ramen has been nominated for Best Main in our #FtLionAwards 2019, Ramo Ramen’s review has come slightly too late to qualify this time around, though there’s always next year!
It appears as though the people behind the UK’s first Ramen restaurant to offer an entirely Halal food menu (NB – alcohol is served) are on a mission to make Kentish Town Road their own.
Not only are they behind long-established Guanabana, which was one of London’s first Latin Caribbean eateries, but also pan-Asian Bintang, and the Caribbean fast food place Moi Moi Island, which only recently opened in October next door to the former and, unlike the previous two which also serve alcohol, is fully Halal.
As for Ramo Ramen, then this cosy little, 30-cover Japanese/ Filipino restaurant is simply decked out, with a small and relatively discreet bar situated at the back of the premises.
Also towards the far end is a wall compartment proudly presenting memorabilia items that include a wrestling-style championship belt presented by Timeout magazine and Deliveroo for a Battle of the Broth competition that Ramo won last year for its Oxtail Kare Kare ramen.
Currently, there’s six very distinct ramens to choose from, which includes their latest tamarind-based Sinigang Ramen, with each broth regularly made fresh (though it might be a little much hoping for freshly-made noodles).
Please note that a 10% service charge will be added to your bill at the end of proceedings.
Easily the best of the beverages was the Mocktail Dragon Fizz – a lime-green sherbty concoction that offered a sharp zingy kick.
The Fruit Tea was a subtle one with the cherry coming through tentatively without the company of the blueberry.
As for the couple of Bubble Teas, then while the Matcha delivered on that familiarly dull earthy taste and the milky Honey Dew a mellow sweet flavour, the tapioca balls therein appeared quite sparse and soggy in texture. Not the best Bubble Teas we’ve ever had.
As such, not only was this a visually attractive starter, but given the flavours it packed, the best of the bunch had on the evening.
The warm and comforting nature of the combination of cheeses made this a thoroughly enjoyable eat, with the shrimp gyozas offering that hint of the sea in the background.
Recommended as one of their most popular starters and we understood why. A brilliant introduction to Ramo Ramen!
These well executed Pan Fried Gyozas weren’t just delicately crispy on the outside, but also chewy enough to maintain our interest, with a soy vinegar side adding a tangy edge to things.
With a chewy-cum-crunchy exterior courtesy of a sweet and sharp miso maple glaze, these chicken wings were dangerously addictive.
One word of advice though: give them a quick twirl to pick up all that tantalising sauce at the bottom of the plate before you start masticating.
A simple dish done really well, such as this Prito Pusit, will always be a winner in its own respect.
Here we had nibblet-sized, tender bits of fried squid battered in a lightly spiced seasoning called ichimi (a seven spice pepper) which was beautifully complemented by a silky smooth kewpie mayo sauce sprinkled in said pepper.
A portion of Karaage Chicken Wings that were marinated in what’s known as toyomansi, which happens to be a combination of the names of two ingredients used in making this marinade: soy sauce and calamansi – the latter being a citrus fruit akin to lemon and limes.
These wings, however, did turn out a tad oily, were mild in flavour, and thus not as exciting as the ones enjoyed above.
They offer plenty of top-up options and add-ons. Here’s how you can add those extra notes of flavours to your chosen ramen:
- extra broth, £2.00
- extra spring onion, £0.50
- extra noodles, £2.00
- extra egg, £2.00
- extra chicharrones, £2.50
- extra mushrooms, £1.50
- extra adobo chicken, £2.50
- extra nori, £0.50
- extra oxtail, £3.00
- extra peashoots, £0.50
- extra tempura, £2.00
- extra clams, £2.50
- extra bamboo shoots, £1.50
Described as a “revelation” by one Lion, Ramo Ramen’s award-winning Oxtail Kare Kare introduced us to a new flavour profile we hadn’t experienced before, and one we won’t be forgetting for some time to come.
An astoundingly good broth this, which was creamy and buttery in texture, and had a rich nutty taste that was enhanced by the deep umami meatiness of the soft strands of pulled oxtail.
Add to that two semi-boiled eggs, thinly diced spring onions, the texture of the shiitake mushrooms, and so much more, and this was a true eye opener.
If we did have a complaint, though a minor one in the grand scheme of things, it was that we would have preferred this served slightly hotter than it was.
Perhaps the weakest of the ramens had was this Lamb Tantanmen, with the first customary slurp (watch the opening scene of the classic Japanese movie, Tampopo, which, while paying homage to ramen, provides an apparent breakdown of the etiquettes of properly enjoying these mesmerising bowls of food) described by one Lion as “unexpected” and “tasting more like bolognese soup”!
However, as with most good ramens, once you start digging deeper, you should begin to slowly but surely encounter a complex layer of flavours, tastes, smells and textures that all marry together in harmony. And that’s precisely what happened here, with that initial hesitation giving way to an appreciation of the “home-cooked” nature of the broth, which eventually lead to enjoyment.
Nevertheless, we couldn’t help but think how much better this could have been with strips of succulent lamb rather than the minced variety, and finely minced at that.
Can there be anything more satisfying than a deep flavoured chicken broth? May be a deep flavoured chicken broth with crispy-cum-crunchy shards of chicharrones, or fried chicken skin, to help intensify the flavour.
Some people may prefer their chicken in bite-size chunks, but we appreciated how you could mix in the pulled adobo chicken to help further enhance the soothing nature of the broth.
And while the chicharrones did soon get lost in the mix of things, there was more than enough condiments to keep us going right till the end. To be sure, however, this Chicken Sopas ramen lives and dies by its impressive broth.RECOMMENDED
This Spicy Tempura Shrimp & Clams ramen delivered on a fantastic creamy broth, with the taste of the sea permeating every aspect of this busy-looking bowl.
What made this so distinctly delicious was the addition of the fresh chillies and chilli oil which imparted a touch of heat to the entire thing.
Although it may appear that the kitchen sink has been thrown at this one, it did make for fascinating exploration. The shrimp tempura was fantastic, especially with the tips having soaked up some of that chilli water.
If we did have a complaint, it would be with the tiny morsels of clams, since they seemed to be lost in translation when competing against all the other condiments. To be honest, and when taking the price of this dish into consideration, we would have expected something more substantive than just mundane clams.
Having said that though, the sheer number of items in this ramen will have you busily nibbling and munching away in a trance.RECOMMENDED
So this is the new addition to Ramo’s menu – a tamarind-based Ramen, with a vibrant blood orange broth and hunky deshelled king prawns helping this Sinigang Ramen stand out enough to be chosen as our feature image.
Prime your buccal cavity before taking that customary first slurp though, because the intensity of the tamarind broth will literally have your taste buds standing at full attention, it’s that potent. That initial sharpness does begin to wane, however, leaving what can only be described as an extremely addictive, light tangy soup with a touch of heat in the background.
We particularly enjoyed the way in which the el dente noodles absorbed all that strong flavour.
The only query we would raise is in regards to those deshelled prawns. As far as we know, ramens are meant to be served hot and finished in time before the broth cools down past a certain point. It appears, therefore, that patiently going through the process of shelling these large and slippery prawns defeats said purpose.
In any case and whatever the rationale, this is certainly a worthy addition to an extrememly impressive menu.
Why? Because given how large the default size of the ramens are, the last thing anyone would want is a heavy dessert thereafter. And though this might, on paper at least, seem that way, we can assure you, as we were assured by a knowledgeable staff member, that this dish is anything but.
This thin and crispy pastry, lightly dusted in sugar and cinnamon, contained enough gooey mango and peach fruit which, when combined with the mango sauce, culminated in sumptuous mouthfuls of delight.
- YES/ NO
- CHILD SEATING
- UBER EATS
These guys saw a gap in the Halal market, brought together a team to deliver as authentic ramens as logistics and monetary means could offer, and appear to have made a success of things, with their Oxtail Kare Kare ramen triumphing last year in a Battle of the Broths competition held by Timeout and Deliveroo.
So as the UK's first and only ramen restaurant to currently offer a fully Halal food menu, do we even need to bother answering the question of recommendation?!
It's probably asking a little too much of them we know, but if there ever comes a time when Ramo Ramen decides on serving freshly-made inhouse noodles, we'd die a happy pride!
Please note that a 10% service charge will be added to your bill at the end of proceedings.
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