8 Brixton Station Rd SW9 8PD
Mon-Thurs: 11:30AM – 10:30PM
Fri-Sat: 11:30AM – 11:00PM
Sun: 11:30AM – 10:30PM
Tel: 07367 094962
Koi Ramen Bar now qualifies as a Brixton institution. It’s progressed from a stall in Brixton Station Road, through a unit in Pop Brixton and now just returned to one of the railway arches opposite to where they started. We’ve looked at it before in it’s previous incarnations, here and here. Now, like some other Brixton originals, it’s part of a chain, but has really found it’s feet. We went at lunchtime and sat outside, although there is some space inside that will be needed in winter months.
There’s a really short menu with four types of ramen, a few extra toppings and different types of gyoza, should you want a starter. You order at the counter but the dishes are brought to you. We went for the old scool Shoyu and the pure white tonkotsu with an extra nitamago marinated egg. The old scool shoyu (their spelling) is, as the name suggests, the original ramen, with a soy based soup with chashu belly pork. Tofu is available as an option. This was my choice and it was great and well presented in a proper bowl. Much better than the paper cups used on previous visits.
The tonkotsu, described as their “signature dish” , is a creamy pork noodle soup with chashu belly pork again, plus kikurage mushrooms and spring onions. Given that this is a meat broth there’s no tofu option. The egg was soft-boiled as required. My companion enjoyed it, but thought it might have benefited from a touch of chilli, to liven it up.
Ramen, at least in Japan, is real fast food. A lunchtime snack that’s eaten quickly and with relish. If this is what you are looking for this is now easily the best option in Brixton, benefiting from the narrow focus on its speciality. There are drinks available including Japanese beers and sake, but we just shared a bottle of still water. So the bill came to only £16.70, allowing for a £2.00 off lunch deal. This could well become a lunchtime regular.