Way back before the ramen revolution hit London, my first experience of ramen was at Cocoro. It’s a Japanese restaurant just off Oxford Street and on its full menu, they offered ramen.
I hit Cocoro for lunch as they used to have a minimum spend at dinner time. The restaurant has a largely Asian clientele and a more traditional vibe compared to the more rock and roll ambiance of places like Bone Daddies.
I ordered my favourite tonkotsu ramen but with added pork fat (seabaru option on the menu). You can also get the ramen in a lunch set for £2 extra, where you also get miso soup, 3 appetisers, rice and fruit.
I also took advantage of the fact that Cocoro is a full restaurant by ordering some sashimi – o-toro (fatty tuna belly), hotate (scallop), unagi (eel) and botan shrimp.
When the ramen arrived, I was reminded of Cocoro’s unique way of serving ramen with the toppings on a separate plate and the noodles already in the bowl of hot soup. The bowl is probably the most generous-sized bowl of ramen in London. The soup has a good creamy depth, especially with the additional pork fat. The chashu has improved and there were 2 thick slices on the plate though not the fullest flavoured.
So, onto the marks for Ramen Wars
Noodles: above average but no offer to customise how you like them cooked
Soup base: Cocoro’s broth has always been good and it remains so
Toppings: generous thick slices of chashu and good balance of vegetables. Unusual to serve toppings separately but it allows you to customise your bowl
Egg: the egg was nice but a bit dry
General happiness: it was semi nostalgic to walk back into Cocoro. I do like the Japanese vibe
Noodles: ★★★★☆ Soup: ★★★★★ Toppings: ★★★★☆ Egg: ★★☆☆☆ Happiness: ★★★★☆
So, while Cocoro’s ramen crown has probably been stolen by Bone Daddies, Kanada-Ya or Ippudo, the availability of a wide range of high quality sushi and full Japanese menu adds something not available at the specialist ramen restaurants.
31 Marylebone Lane, London W1U 2NH