In search of the ultimate Ramen – Muga:
As winter draws in, the idea of a steaming bowl of ramen really appeals. Perhaps it is a reflection on my first ever ramen experience, one bitterly cold lunchtime at Bone Daddies. I’m not an expert and I can’t pretend to really understand the variations of soup bases. What I do know is that hearty bowls of food I’m presented with are just a little addictive.
Muga, just off Piccadilly, is somewhere to visit if you want to eat and prefer to avoid the queues and chaos of Soho. It’s owned and run by Japanese restaurateurs in London and when we arrived, early in the evening there were a scattering of Japanese diners. By the time we left it was full.
My order of age-gyoza was a dish I had seen in front of another diner at Tonkotsu Ramen. At the time I had a bad case of food envy, but it’s taken me over a year to be in a position to order my own. They didn’t disappoint – crispy shelled dumplings with a soft chicken filling and a spicy dipping sauce.
Meanwhile, The-Hedonist, on a bit of a health kick, ordered the mixed seaweed salad with wasabi and yuzu dressing.
The ramen menu at Muga involves picking your soup base, spicing it up and then deciding if you need extra toppings. From my (limited) previous experience, I knew not to add more. I struggle to eat a full bowl of ramen, despite loving what I’m eating.
I ordered the spicy miso based ramen noodle, with the chef’s recommendation of muga spicy vege and kara-age toppings. That gave me a spicy miso based ramen noodle, topped with deep fried chicken, spicy mixed vegetables, leek, garlic chips, egg and sesame seeds.
Meanwhile The-Hedonist ordered the Yasai noodle base, which is vegetarian and topped it with seafood delight, a mixture of seafood, vegetables, spring onion, leek, egg and sesame seed.
As I expected, I couldn’t finish my ramen. I REALLY enjoy it and suspect I should turn up with a tupperware box to take the leftovers home with me. In the meantime I’ll just accept that with a base price of £9.90 a bowl I don’t NEED to eat the lot.
We did try a dessert each – The-Hedonist’s dorayaki with ice-cream is now on my wishlist after a taster teaspoonful.
My mochi ice-cream was a light, tasty option but for me at least, the grass was greener on the other side…
I loved Muga – I have no idea whether it is more or less authentic than the other ramen joints I’ve visited (Tonkotsu and Bone Daddies). What it did offer was a good Ramen range, some interesting starters and dessert, though nothing too fanciful and a selection of Sake to accompany the food. All for a very reasonable price and with no queues. That’s a result for me and I’ll certainly be heading south of Piccadilly rather than up into Soho if I am in the mood for a little Japanese comfort food.
5 Panton Street