The thing about music, though, is that it's even more divisive than food. I had some twitter exchanges with @BoneDaddiesRBar about his choice of tunes. We agreed to disagree, and it was left with an invite to me to say hi the next time I popped in so that he could outline what he wanted to do with Bone Daddies, and how the music fitted in with his vision. More on that later, as this is a food blog, not a music blog!
The food was mercifully better than the music. On my first visit I just had to order the tonkotsu ramen (£11) that I pimped up with a fat pipette and some nori. I was impressed. The toppings of chashu pork, menma, beansprouts, fried garlic and egg were good quality and, compared to its rivals, also generous of portion. However, the broth wasn't quite there for a tonkotsu although the pipette of fat gave it extra porkiness. And in my opinion, it could've done with a lot more broth. I also checked out the fried chicken (£5). This also showed promise, but it needed some Kewpie mayo on the side. (Memo to all Japanese places in London, serve your kara-age fried chicken with Kewpie mayo on the side, please!)
I returned later that week for a second visit. This time it was for lunch, so thankfully the music wasn't quite as loud. Moreover, there were a few tunes from The Clash and The Doors, which was more agreeable to my
After the meal, I asked to say hi to @BoneDaddiesRBar, who turned to be Ross Shonhan, the guy behind Bone Daddies. We carried on our chat about music, and he explained how the music is an important part of what Bone Daddies is all about. To that end, he'd put together a playlist of 'classic rock' with no tunes from after 1992. Regarding the playlist, I think there could be a bit more flexibility (i.e. he really ought to slap on bands I like on there) but at the end of the day, it's his gaff, not mine.
After chatting about the music, we moved on to a more important matter: the food. By his own admission, Ross wasn't too happy with some of the early versions of the tonkotsu broth, but he was excited about the new one. So much so, he invited me into the kitchen to show me. I didn't taste it, but just by the look of it, I knew it was an improvement. That's because this tonkotsu was, in common with the upper echelons of the Tory party, rich and thick with a milky complexion. A mental note was made to check it out.
And so on to my most recent visit, when I tried the latest version of the tonkotsu ramen. I purposefully ordered it as it was i.e. with no pimpage, and I have to say it's quite possibly one of the best bowls of ramen I've had in London. The broth was rich and had a nice porky depth. I haven't really spoken of the actual noodles thus far in this review, and that's because they have been, on all my visits, of decent quality, and not overcooked. And I was also pleased to see a slight increase in the volume of broth in the bowl, although it could still have done with more.
Bone Daddies is a worthy addition to the fast-evolving London ramen scene. While I need to properly check out Shoryu Ramen as well as revisit other contenders, for now, I reckon Bone Daddies offers the most complete bowl of tonkotsu ramen in London. Whether it's as good as the noodles in Tokyo is another matter, but it's a moot point given Soho is closer to home than Shinjuku. There are some caveats, though. If, like me, you're an irascible old git with strong views on music, it may be better to go for lunch, not dinner!
I'm going to end this review how I started it, with a few words about music. At the end of the day, my upbringing in the north west of England is far removed from Ross Shonhan's in Queensland. So it'd be fair to say we might not have the same taste in music. Having said that, I think there can be a bit more imagination in the playlist. In short, it needs a bit of Manchester. And on that note, here's a tune I think would go down a storm at Bone Daddies: I Am The Resurrection by The Stone Roses. And Ross, if you're reading this, check out the guitar solo from 3m 40s in – it's the equal of anything Jimmy Page has ever done.
Bone Daddies, 31 Peter Street, London W1F 0AR, (Tel: 020-7287-8581)
Nearest stations: Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus