We can all admit to being guilty of some form of compulsive purchasing. Take Steak for example, who has enough clothes to overload an Airbus A380 until it can’t take off. Or my Dad, who has so many shoes and trainers, that you would think he had mistaken himself for a centipede. And then there’s chef Omar Shah, who seems to have an incredibly unhealthy addiction to opening up restaurants.
After founding the highly-successful Bintang, Guanabana, Barako Bean coffee, and more recently, Mamason’s Dirty Ice Cream, his brain once again grew restless. He tossed and he turned, and he itched his head, until suddenly, he had an epiphany. Marking his fourth establishment on a small stretch of Kentish Town Road – (a clear sign of his allergy to commuting), he and his team have opened the doors to Ramo Ramen – London’s first halal ramen restaurant.
Armed with a stripped-down, focussed menu, Ramo Ramen offers a unique Filipino twist on some comforting Japanese staples. To begin, we ordered a couple of starters – namely, the karage chicken, and the miso baked shrimp gyoza. The chunks of karage chicken – with their thick, crispy coating and tender core, were incredibly moreish, and delivered a sharp, savoury kick.
Karage Chicken (£5) *Recommended*
The miso baked shrimp gyoza meanwhile, proved to be not only a mouthful to say, but also, a delightful mouthful to eat. The tender chunks of shrimp were encased within soft, moist dumplings, which were smothered in a rich, cheesy crust. In the words of Omar, these were like “a lovechild between lasagne and dim sum”.
Miso Baked Shrimp Gyoza (£5) *Must-Eat*
For the main show, Steak and I opted for the “Chicken Sopas” and “Oxtail Kare Kare” ramens, both of which blew us away. The Chicken Sopas boasted a rich, savoury broth, which delivered an incredible sharpness that lingered on the tongue. Filled with soft noodles, a soft-boiled egg, tender, shredded chicken, and crispier bits of chicken skin, this hearty bowl had texture, flavour, and everything in between.
Chicken Sopas Ramen (£11) *Must-Eat*
The Oxtail Kare Kare was equally addictive, with a smooth, creamy, peanut-sauce based broth that carried a subtle, nutty sweetness. Best of all, it was filled with tender chunks of oxtail, which melted in the mouth to deliver a sensational, creamy and buttery ecstasy.
Oxtail Kare Kare Ramen (£12) *Must-Eat*
I also had the chance to pick at the Spicy Tempura Shrimp ramen at a preview event several days before, which boasted a very thick, crispy, and tender pair of shrimp tempura.
Spicy Tempura Shrimp & Clams Ramen (£14)
Having effectively consumed 1.5 bowls of ramen single-handedly – (on account of Steak’s absolutely useless capacity for food), I rolled my stomach to one side and ordered Ramo Ramen’s signature dessert – the mango peach pie with mango cream. This rich and decadent pie arrived piping hot, with a crispy, sugary casing, filled with chunks of baked mango and peach. Best of all, it was served with a smooth mango cream that cut through the richness of the pie and added a cool, vibrant sweetness.
Mango Peach Pie w/ Mango Cream (£6) *Must-Eat*
Mango Peach Pie w/ Mango Cream (£6) *Must-Eat*
Value For Money: 4/5
A glance through the single-page menu will reveal that starters all cost £5, whilst ramens cost between £11 to £14, and the dessert (singular), costs £6. All together our meal for two – which included two starters, two ramens, and one dessert, amounted to £40, which we felt was reasonable for the calibre of the food, and the size of the portions.
Given that we visited Ramo Ramen within the first few days of opening – (albeit, twice), an accurate assessment of the service is not possible at this moment in time. However, despite a few minor bumps in the road here and there, service seemed to run relatively smoothly and efficiently, and the waiting staff were warm and attentive towards all the patrons dining alongside us.
Decor / Ambience: 3.5/5
The restaurant itself boasts an “open”, clean and contemporary feel, with attractive light fixtures and a handful of retro touches. Ramo Ramen can be found a ten minute walk away from either Camden Town or Kentish Town stations, and limited pay-by-phone parking can be found on adjacent residential roads. (Restrictions generally end at 6:30pm).
In many ways, Ramo Ramen is a perfect example of why I do not think I could ever live outside of London. Quite frankly, there is no other city where you would be able to find a halal restaurant serving great Japanese ramen, with a unique Filipino twist. Thanks to Ramo Ramen, such a notion is no longer the stuff of fantasy, and I for one will certainly be returning – and certainly more than once, for another slurp of their signature broths.
Halal status: All the meat served here is halal. Alcohol is served on the premises.
Address: 157 Kentish Town Road, London, NW1 8PD
Telephone: 020 7267 2563
Disclaimer: We were initially invited to a complimentary preview of the menu at Ramo Ramen. We subsequently visited again a few days later for a regular meal. This second visit forms the basis of this review.