When it comes to Japanese food, ramen is at the top of my satisfying meal list. A lot of creativity can be infused into a single bowl of broth and I’m a mission to uncover the best ramen joints around. Luckily, there’s no shortage of Japanese restaurants in Manchester, which is why I dropped by Tokyo Ramen to taste their wares.
A spartan menu that’s packed with flavour
Found in the Northern Quarter, Tokyo Ramen channels the intimacy of a traditional ramen venue that wouldn’t look out of place in the capital city of The Land of the Rising Sun. Small tables are packed together at the bottom, while the upper level features a row of high chairs for single diners and larger tables for customers who want to eat together. The open kitchen thrums with the scent of warm broth, whetting the appetite for food that is cooked to perfection.
Tokyo Ramen operate under a ‘when it’s gone it’s gone, we start again from scratch for tomorrow’ policy, meaning the restaurant closes as soon as all the broth is gone. Their cooking style focuses on a Tsukemen approach, which compromises their house noodles, a range of gorgeous toppings and a creamy soup made from a 10-hour chicken broth.
The menu is as spartan as the décor, featuring a choice of three ramen dishes and four small plates. Traditionalists will enjoy the Tantamen, a potent mixture of koji fried chicken, fermented chilli oil, roast garlic-sesame tare, kale and lime. On a previous visit I tried the Shoyu, a wholesome broth that contained torched pork belly, pickled mustard greens, spring onion oil, binchotan tare and nori.
I decided to step outside my usual ramen choices by going for the vegetarian miso option. The combination of mushroom dashi, onion miso, pickled shiitake, enoki, brown butter and sweet potato blew away my taste buds. The meaty flavour of the broth contrasted beautifully with the lightness of the ingredients. It was a dish that exceeded my expectations and convinced me to try more vegetarian Japanese delicacies in future. All three broths come to the same price of £11.75, ensuring value for money.
One of the finest ramen joints in the North West
Tokyo Ramen also caters to people who are looking for a shared dining experience. The small plates menu features delectable dishes like beef yakiniku (£7) and spicy koji fried chicken (£6.75). Try the £8 octopus karaage, which comes slathered in chickpea miso and ink pozu, or the healthy £6 Nikkei tofu, a delightful mixture of smoked avocado, yuzu kosho and tiger’s milk.
In terms of flavour, service and atmosphere, Tokyo Ramen ticks all the right boxes. It’s a venue that favours substance over complex menus, consistency over flashy gimmicks. It’s truly one of the finest ramen joints in the North West of England.
Location: 55 Church Street, Manchester, M4 1PD
Opening hours: 12PM — 3PM, 5PM — 10 PM
12PM — 7 PM on Sundays, closed on Mondays
Tokyo Ramen isn’t the only game in town. Be sure to read my review of another brilliant Manchester ramen restaurant called Cocktail Beer Ramen + Bun.