Kanada-Ya is a popular ramen bar in Japan and has many branches around the world. In 2014 they open their first London branch near Tottenham Court Road, known as their St Giles branch. Just over a year, Kanada-Ya opens their second branch near Picadilly Circus, known as their Haymarket branch.
With the long queue at their peak time it always has been off putting to visit as a resident in London. Finally Summer 2015 I had the opportunity to visit their St Giles branch and see what so popular about this place.
The menu at Kanada-Ya is simple concentrating on what they do best and that is ramen. There are four option to select – Original, Moyashi, Chashu-Men and Geikikara. With any of the options you have the choice of ramen firmness – regular, soft, firm or extra firm.
Original ramen (£10.50) is made up of slices of chashu pork, wood ear fungus, nori and spring onion in a 18-hours pork bone broth.
Chashu-Men (£13) is original served with charshu pork collar (Hanjuku egg is not included).
Moyashi Ramen (£11.50) is a lighter version that comes with blanched beansprouts. The Gekikara ramen (£13) is served with a spicy ‘tan tan’ style minced pork, pork belly chashu, wood ear fungus, seaweed and spring onion
All ramen do not come standard with Hanjuku egg and cost an additional of £2. There are other toppings that can be added to the ramen including Ma-yu (charred black garlic sauce), Karamison (spicy red miso paste) and nori (seaweed).
If you have any remaining broth and still hungry then you can add extra portion of noodles (Kaedma) for £2. The restaurant recommended to order the Kaedma once you have finish the noodle in the first bowl to get the best taste. That seem to make a lot of sense and the broth flavour is string enough for another portion of noodles.
The menu at Haymarket branch is smiliar but they have added two sides, Karaage (£6.50) and Paolo’s Kale (£3). The Karaage is Japanese fried chicken and is served with mayonnaise.
Both branches serves onigiri with the option to be ordered in one or two pieces. There are three different flavour to select – Original (£2/£3), Sake (£3/£4.24) and Ume (£2.50/£3.75)
I tried the Sake onigiri which is rice filled with flaked salmon. I found the flake salmon was over seasoned with too many salt. Even with the rice being bland you would had welcome a well seasoned flake salmon, but it was too salty.
Both branch serve the same range of ramen and each one does not come served with a egg. However, I was disappointed at the Haymarket branch as the pork was cut too thick. Surprised to say that the texture of the pork was better at Muga which is a ramen bar on the same street.
Looking at the Hanjuku egg it looked as you expect from a ramen egg, served with the white cooked and have a moltan egg yolk. But I found it was too salty in taste.
It might be that my visit to the Haymarket branch was on the opening week which could explain the disappointing flavour in some of the dishes we tried that evening.
Overall Kanada-Ya’s pork broth is indeed good, full of flavour but not over-powering. The ramen at both branch was cooked at just the right texture, not too soft and not too firm.
Both branches are not very big and both design are simple. It is casual and you will have to prepare to share a table with other diners.
If you do decide to visit Kanada-Ya, then do expect queues. The best time to beat the queue is when they have just open.
(Prices correct at the time of dining)
Kanada-Ya (St Giles branch)
64 St Giles High Street,
Kanada-Ya (Haymarket branch)
3 Panton Street,