As battlegrounds go, Covent Garden is a tame one; but a battleground it is. The conflict? The Ramen Wars of course. When the bellwether tolled several years ago across the pond in New York, we knew what was coming. With the soothing qualities of home-made chicken soup and the alcohol-quelling mythology of a kebab, London and ramen were always meant to be best friends. Across the way from Europe’s first and only Ippudo, Kanada-Ya is watching nervously. Ippudo is ramen’s global poster boy, launching way back in 1985, it has spread across the globe like soy sauce on so many table clothes. It should come as no surprise that they have got things down pat. The Gyoza (dumplings to you and me) are succulent and crisp, complimented perfectly by hirata Samurai wings and a swig of Owa beer. The hirata buns are a must, the pork variety was our favourite. Some of the other mains came close to tempting us off course but the ramen prevailed. The Karaka Spicy Men with an added boiled egg stole the show, lighting up our cheeks and soothing our rumbling bellies. The Otokoyama Junmai sake was a perfect, slow finish to the evening as we leant back and gazed out onto St Giles High Street. As for the war, well it rumbles on. Far be it from us to announce a victor. As far as we’re concerned, when it comes to ramen, the more the merrier.
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