Heddon Street has become quite the foodie hotspot with the likes of Momo, Sabor, Fallow and more recently Heddon Yokocho calling the area home. The latter, from the Japan Cente team, has taken the place of Sakagura and is a celebration of regional Japanese ramen – there’s a moving noodles and chopsticks model outside the door just in case you were in any doubt.
Yokocho means alleyway in Japanese and though Heddon Street may be swankier than the narrow streets of Tokyo lined with restaurants and dive bars, the spirit is certainly there. Heddon Yokocho is decked out just like a downtown retro ramen bar, filled with lanterns, posters, neon signage and lucky cat statues, so you really do feel like you’re in Tokyo. They even have shuchu (which translates to ‘focus’) booths, which are snug tables designed for solo diners to slurp their bowls without any distractions.
As you’d expect from a ramen bar, ramen is the star of the show. There are styles from across the country on offer, from Sapporo Miso from the north to Hakata Tonkotsu from Fukuoka in the south, each with the date and place that they were created. We went for the Kumamoto Tonkotsu, which is a classic rich pork broth given extra punch from garlic oil and fried garlic, and the Vegan Miso, Heddon Yokocho’s own creation of vegetable miso broth topped with tofu and tenderstem broccoli – finding a good non-meat ramen isn’t easy so this is a good one for veggies and vegans to have up their sleeves.
There’s also a small selection of sides, sushi rolls and desserts on the menu; like at Japan Centre’s other chain Shoryu Ramen, the pork gyoza are particularly good, served on a hot skillet for maximum crispness, and the yuzu sorbet is super refreshing. There’s a decent sake selection on the drinks list alongside highballs and chu-hi (shochu-based cocktails) but if you’re forgoing booze, the Yuzu Jasmine Fizz with iced jasmine tea, yuzu syrup and soda is a great alternative to the traditional softies.
Heddon Yokocho is a fun place if you’re in the mood for noods and a great spot if you’re treating yourself to a solo supper.
8 Heddon Street, London W1B 4BU