Tonkotsu, London’s largest and arguably most successful ramen restaurant chain, will open its tenth site in the capital in Peckham this September. It joins celebrated Italian restaurant maestros Forza Win’s new wine bar, Forza Wine, at the ‘Market’ development on Rye Lane.
The formula will be familiar: rich, creamy white broths; chashu pork or karaage; the cult-followed ‘Eat the Bits’ chilli oil. It will be interesting to see if the brand evolves its offering with this new growth: mazemen, the staple, historic subset of abura soba, ‘oil noodles’ that rely on rich, meat-based sauces, egg yolk, or seasoned oil for moisture rather than broth, is surely destined to be artlessly trendified by somewhere in London soon: Niche, in New York City, is currently blowing up.
Emma Reynolds and Ken Yamada founded Tonkotsu in 2013, as an offshoot of Tsuru (now closed.) It opened right as London embraced ramen as a food trend — naturally ignoring the independent Japanese restaurants that had been serving it for sometime — but faces competition from the likes of smaller (in London) chains Kanada-Ya and Ippudo, as well as quality independents like Seto in Camden, Nanban in Brixton, and Ramen Izakaya Sasuke in Lambeth. Investment from YFM in June to the tune of £5 million has boosted expansion plans, with two more sites expected by the end of this year.