Tonkotsu East has the hallmarks of a classic new East-End eatery: it’s built within Haggerston station railway arches, there is exposed brickwork, it’s management team is friendly and knowledgable and – of course – a large percentage of its customers have beards.
But there is one feature that sets this new Japanese bar / restaurant aside from its neighbours – an industrial-sized noodle making machine, housed in its own in a glass room, easily viewable from the dining area.
It’s the only one of its type in the UK, and you can literally watch as long strips of dough are stretched, cut, noodalised, dried, and then brought to you in steaming bowls of ramen. Homemade cooking at its best.
And noodles aren’t the only distinctly homemade product available at Tonkotsu East – they also make their own very yummy ‘Eat The Bits’ chilli oil, made from d’Archbol chilli flakes, shichimi togarashi, red miso, garlic, onion and sesame seeds, available to buy from the restaurant.
The food menu is small but perfectly formed – clearly a lot of care has gone into each dish. The highlights are the Tokyo Ramen – a soy-based pork and chicken stock with medium thick noodles topped with mirin, sweet soy-glazed pork belly, half a soft boiled egg, menma and spring onions… and the handmade, slightly crispy prawn goyza (dumplings) are quite possibly the best in town
Side dishes include crab or pumpkin croquettes, king prawn katsu, salt and pepper squid and sea bass carpaccio, as well as tenderstem broccoli and pickled cucumber. Wash it all down with a flask of sake, a Japanese beer or something from the cocktail list.
Tonkotsu East is definitely one if of the best Japanese restaurants around at the moment, and a welcome addition to the Haggerston area – for more information check out http://tonkotsu.co.uk