Just around the corner from where many of you more than likely go for your noodle fix in North Laine, Wagamama’s, there’s somewhere that is so much better. SO much better in fact that I almost don’t want to tell you about it.. it’s hard enough to get a table as it is!
E Kagen Sushi & Noodle Cafe is in a premises above the Oriental Supermarket, Yum Yums, on Sydney Street. The interior is dated, but sparklingly clean and comfortingly authentic. The tables turn over as quickly as the food comes out, and has a reassuringly large majority of Asian customers- which to me, like a pizzeria with a largely Italian clientele, is a great sign.
Take note of this as the times on their website are wrong… something I know from bitter experience, I’d hyped myself and a friend up about visiting one Thursday evening, only to turn up to closed doors. Sad face.
Again, unsure their website is to be trusted in terms of up to date menus so please see below for full line up- don’t be put off by the fact there’s pictures on the menu- this sets off immediate alarm bells for me, but I can reassure you, this place is the exception to that rule.
Kimchee ramen- £6.50
If ramen was a bloke I would probably marry him. If it’s done right, it’s one of the most exciting, and pleasurable things you can eat. I make it all the time at home (recipe here) but £6.50 for this beast of a bowl was incredibly good value, I thought.
I’m going to cut to the chase and talk about the only negative aspect of the entire meal; that egg… it was everything I didn’t want it to be, fridge cold with a grey-rimmed and chalky yolk- Disappointing.
Other than that it was one of the best ramens I’ve eaten- the broth flavoured with kimchee was tangy and had an edge to it that soy-based ramen dishes are often missing. For all you rampant carnivores thinking: ‘where’s the meat at, blondie’- rest assured you can add pork for an extra £1.50.
Pork gyoza set meal- £7
I got a raised eyebrow from the lovely waitress when I ordered two main courses, at a table for one, but just the gyozas on their own were a fiver and for just a couple of quid more I got miso, rice and salad to accompany them- absolute bargain. The gyoza were simple but really delicious and the miso soup tasted like a rich and silky chicken stock. If you’re after a bit of everything then the set menu section is probably your best bet.
The waitress and her knowing look were right, for once, my eyes actually were bigger than my belly so I got the majority of it to go and ate it cold later on (morbid fear of reheating rice) covered in the tangy ponzu sauce that they’d thoughtfully decanted into a little pot for me.
Would I recommend? Wholeheartedly. The service was great, the loos were immaculately clean and my bill for the above came in under the £15 mark- I couldn’t have asked for more really. Will I be back? Try and stop me!
Have you been to E-Kagen? Any other hidden gems like this I should be putting on my radar? Please do comment below or hit me up on any of my social networks (links above and below) x