Kanada-ya is a newly opened ramen bar (which opened around September as Ippudo and ironically oppsite to them) which is located in St Giles High Street. It originated from Yukuhashi area of Fukuoka in Japan (also with a branch in Hong Kong but I am yet to discover it yet!)
It was the last day before my Christmas break as my office is 7 minutes from the area I made my way just after lunchtime around 2pm to make my ramen visit (I have heard a high number of blogs and reviews that they do not take bookings so queuing was expected and I queued up for around 20 minutes in the wind!). There was 20 or so seats and I liked the simple use of colours inside the venue, white with some shiny-wood furniture. This is the only ramen bar i’ve visited that plays Japanese music which ranges from beaty anime-style music to classic slow popular J-pop.
I was given the menu as I was waiting and the owner paid attention to those that are waiting, he was friendly to everyone and looked very thankful as well as reminding us how long the estimated wait would be. The menu was simple with just ramen, choice of extra toppings, onigiri rice balls and drinks. But I loved how there was a choice in how we prefered our noodles from Extra firm Firm, Regular to Soft and I chose firm. There was no alcohol served in the venue when I visited (Dec 2014) which was very unique however their choice of drinks was very nice. I assume they will apply for an alcohol license soon!!
Their classic ramen cost £10, which is standard across London for a bowl of ramen so it’s nothing new, I chose the Moyashi Ramen which contained their 18 hour pork bone broth, chashu pork belly, wood ear fungus, nori and spring onions. I love my broth and have had the habit of downing my broth when I eat noodles or ramen. The quality of the ramen is very high of quality, I could taste the pork slices more than when I visited Ippudo, Tonkotsu and Bone Daddies. Topping off the soup broth, the broth is produced in house on a daily basis which made the broth very tasty, I had 3/4 of the broth and I didn’t feel as thirsty as I would normally. I didn’t order a boiled egg however but I appreciated the taste of the broth. I particularly liked the spicy miso which I ordered, I am a lover of spicy ramen and the spicy miso allowed me to control how spicy I prefered which was a huge bonus.
The friendly approach of Kanada-ya made it more pleasant as I could listen to the diners talk, as well as the atmosphere of the ramen bar made it very unique – I don’t remember the last time I’ve visited a ramen bar in London that doesn’t feel like a club when I dine (I’m not much of a fan of heavy metal music when I eat ramen).
I will recommend Kanada-Ya, yes the venue is small and there will be queues but it is worth the wait (ok, maybe if the wait is around 15 minutes). The Japanese culture of not accepting tips is very good when compared to Ippudo’s 12% mandatory service charge – not being stingy but I like the Japanese culture of this as they made it clear. (There was only one waiter and the owner serving tables in contrast, Ippudo has a number of staffs standing around when we ate).
64 St Giles High Street, London, WC2H 8LE