Review: Greenwich Ramen Noodles - Kitcho by Aji Ichiban

After having spent a couple of weeks getting up close and personal with Japanese food in Japan last autumn, we do crave a good Japanese meal sometimes.

Fortunately, local favourite Kitcho is there to meet our needs. Tucked somewhat out of the action at the south end of Greenwich High Street and far away from the hordes of tourists at the Cutty Sark and Maritime Museum, this place is geared to locals rather than to the one-off visitor. It’s perennially popular and came highly rated. It was time to give it a go after walking past its doors almost every day for three years.

The menu runs pretty much the entire gamut of Japanese food: sushi, sashimi, donburi bowls and hot dishes like katsu curry and ramen bowls are all represented. We weren’t in the mood for anything too excessive, so we ordered a bowl of edamame (warm soybeans in the pod), a platter of tempura vegetables and a bowl of ramen each.

A souper dinner

The tempura really was good. Super crisp, light and hot, it contained a lovely array of vegetables (we spotted broccoli, mushroom, sweet potato, French beans, and aubergine, and we’re sure we missed a couple).

As for the ramen, these stole the show. C’s classic vegetable gyoza ramen was a huge bowl of the classic clean flavours we have come to expect from ramen: salt, umami and soft noodles, accompanied by a variety of vegetables, seaweed and some dumplings. C was expecting the classic fried dumplings with the crimped edges, but instead got dumplings that looked a little bit like fried bread. They weren’t unpleasant to be sure, but they were a surprise; C’s view is that next time she’d order a gyoza-free bowl and get the fried dumplings as a side.

Tasty edamame

A went for a hot meaty version, which was truly fantastic. Unlike the mind-blowing, sweat-inducing offering he tackled in Roppongi district in November, Kitcho’s spicy ramen was hot enough to know you were eating chili, but not hot enough to be unpleasant. Add to that the soft noodles, the tender beef strips and the crunchy vegetables, and he’d definitely order again.

Finally, a word on the sushi. C isn’t a huge fan of raw fish so we didn’t order any, but the platters that went by looked a-mazing. They were beautifully presented and looked super fresh. While we can’t vouch for the taste, we were more or less the only table in the place that didn’t order at least one plate. The people have spoken: give these a go!

Crispy tempura

The one down side was the cold. We were relatively early customers for a Sunday lunch and management didn’t put the heating on until some half way through the meal. As a result we the bulk of the time in the restaurant shivering, especially when other customers opened the door to enter or exit. I’m sure we’ll be back, but we’ll make sure to sit away from the doors next time or to come on a warm day!

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