I finally paid a visit to Tonkotsu in Selfridges after seeing some Instagram posts that made me hungry a few months ago.
Located in the food hall, in spite of the pretty imagery truth be told I didn’t have particularly high expectations. After all, it’s just noodle soup isn’t it? No, no it isn’t. Tonkotsu is casually throwing out some of the best ramen this city has to offer, and the guys behind the counter are so humble it’s almost unbelievable.
The venue & service
Located in Selfridges food hall it’s not so much a restaurant as a three sided bar. You grab a high stool, order your food and wait a matter of minutes before it’s delivered. The staff are friendly and attentive – in fact I’ve never seen a bloke happier to be in this shopping hell-hole (on a Saturday) than the chap who served me. I’ve not been to any of the other eight venues across the UK, but this one works on the same opening hours as the Bull Ring, so it’s more suitable for daytime and early evening.
A concise but cracking little menu awaits (there’s more drink choices than food options) with the main focus being on ramen bowls. I started with the Pork Gyoza (£5.75); five gorgeous steamed then flash fried parcels packed with meat, garlic and fresh ginger. Quite frankly they shit all over the Wagamama alternative. A dipping sauce of soy, vinegar and a dash of chilli oil (made with the condiments available) is the perfect accompaniment.
The Chilli Chicken Ramen (£10) had a pleasantly salty chicken stock base with a generous portion of homemade (I asked) noodles. Additional bamboo shoots, crisp mange tout and spring onions provided both satisfying crunch and freshness against the savoury broth. Topped with pulled chilli chicken and a seasoned egg, it’s a beautiful and substantial bowl of goodness. That 4-minute egg, halved to reveal the glossy almost set yolk, sits proudly like an amber jewel.
Virtuous but satisfying, the secret to the happiness in this bowl is undoubtedly in the golden liquid base bathing the toppings. It’s homely and comforting but provides moorish warmth; I added more heat with the chilli paste available on the counter. Considering, on a basic level, it’s stock with noodles in it’s bloody brilliant.
Fresh food made to order, attentive and fast service, and well priced considering its location. Go for The Slurp Set offer and you get a choice of Gyoza and Ramen plus a glass of fizz or beer for £15.75.
Have you visited Brum’s Tonkotsu yet? What do you think of the place? Let me know in the comments.
Tonkotsu, Selfridges Food Hall, Bullring, B5 4BP
Disclosure: I paid in full and have done again several times since. All photos and words are mine.