Ramen Wars: Muga, Haymarket

I ate at Muga when it first opened but the food didn’t make a good impression. For the sake of Ramen Wars, I made a re-visit. So, would they have raised their game?

 Seats were aplenty at 12.40 on Friday lunchtime. I chose a seat at the bar, my favourite spot to watch the chefs at work.

There’s much to like. The service was friendly with an Ippudo-like Japanese greeting shouted at you by the staff when you walk in.

The lunch set menu of a choice of any of their 4 ramens plus a choice of either chicken or vegetable gyozas or fried rice for only £8.90 is very cheap. I only had to add half an egg for 50p and choose between thin and thick noodles and my order was in.

The gyoza arrived first and were hot, lovely and crispy. Oddly, it arrived with a small saucer of soya sauce and they served the vinegar (correct condiment) in a pourer with no saucer to pour it into.

Then, my tonkotsu ramen arrived. I judge ramen by the soup and I took a slurp. It brought memories flooding back of why I didn’t like Muga the first time round. The soup was thin with no depth and layers of flavour that one expects of a tonkotsu soup. It was more like a shio soup and a second problem was that it was too salty. I left virtually all the soup at the end, almost unheard of for me.

It’s a shame as the toppings were nice. Thick slice of suitably fatty chashu pork, nice egg with runny yolk and a good balance of vegetables and sprinkle of sesame seeds.

To top it off, they couldn’t get their 2 card machine to work and I eventually had to pay cash.

So, onto Ramen War ratings:

Noodles: It was nice to be offered a choice of thin or thick noodles. They were nice and springy but could have been a little more al dente for me.

Soup base: This was the big failure for me. Too salty and not porky enough.

Toppings: Good thick slice of tender chashu and good balance of vegetables.

Egg: Good egg with runny yolk.

General happiness: A shame that the soup lets the tonkotsu ramen down. Otherwise, it’s great value and the gyoza were good. Oh and they have to fix their card machine

Noodles: ★★★★☆ Soup: ★☆☆☆☆ Toppings: ★★★★☆ Egg: ★★★☆☆ Happiness: ★★☆☆☆

I’m afraid these days, the ramen restaurant war is fierce. Muga will be near the back of the pack in Ramen Wars.

Muga Ramen Bar
5 Panton Street, Haymarket, London SW1Y 4DL

Muga Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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