Cocktails, craft beer and the best ramen in town all available from our partners at Tonkotsu! Safe to say this is a firm favourite with our Areaworkers, so getting them on board as a partner was a no brainer. We sat and chatted with Ashleigh, their brand manager and self-confessed noodle fan, about how Tonkotsu came to be.
A bit about you, what’s your background?
We’re a small group of Japanese ramen bars, serving real ramen. Homemade noodles, broths, gyoza and sides, as well as a small but excellent selection of sake, cocktails and craft beer. Just like our name, Tonkotsu is the signature dish on the menu. Using mid-century noodle-making machines imported from Japan, we make three different types of ramen noodle – Tokyo, Tsukemen and Tonkotsu. Each has unique characteristics, developed to complement their different stocks. You can watch these being made fresh each day inside our Haggerston restaurant, while in another archway across the canal, the team are putting pot to stove, making our stocks from scratch.
Why did you decide to open?
Back in 2012, it was hard work trying to find a decent bowl of ramen in London – which was surprising given the popularity of ramen in Japan. Asian food was growing in popularity, so Ken and Emma (our founders) decided to jump on board. After many months of trial and error in attempts to replicate the prized stocks found across Japan – Tonkotsu was born.
What’s been your biggest challenge so far?
Sourcing the perfect flour and water to create our famous homemade noodles was really tricky. We searched for ages for a flour in the UK that had a similar protein content to typical Japanese ramen flour. Water was also hard (literally) – because it needs to be soft and alkaline to give the noodles their elasticity, and water here is the opposite. So we needed to source an industrial water filter and alkaline salts to combat this. It was all worth it though – we think we make the finest ramen noodles you’ll find in London.
What’s been the highlight so far?
There’s been too many to list! We were lucky enough to be able to open 3 restaurants last year (Battersea, Stratford and Ealing), and we have a couple more up our sleeve for this year…
What are your plans for the future?
GLOBAL RAMEN DOMINATION (one day… hopefully)
Describe your company, what are your USPs?
We’re really proud to make all of our noodles, broths, gyoza and sides ourselves – from scratch, in our Haggerston kitchen. We also work closely with awesome UK breweries to create our own signature craft beer – which is made to pair perfectly with our food.
With a sweet discount for our Areaworkers, first access to any tasting events with a discounted rate, and just a hop and a skip from Areaworks Hackney – lunchtimes will never be the same again. Keep an eye out on our website and social media for updates on all of our new partners, and if you fancy becoming part of the Areaworks community, check out our spaces and book a tour.