Yamagoya recently opened a permanent restaurant on The Cut, after a prolonged pop up above Shuang Shuang in Chinatown. Whilst I never ventured upstairs at Shuang Shuang from looking at the menu it seems that the recently opened venture is more geared to the quick lunch trade in the area compared to when they were in Chinatown. The menu seems to have been slicked back and prices much more lunch friendly.
What I noticed on first arrival was that automatic door. For some reason that transported me back to Asia… yes we Asian’s appreciate efficiency to the point we are too lazy to open the door ourselves! However, that said door can also be a pain if you are sitting right next to it, being braced by the cold autumnal air every time something walks remotely past it. Damn you Asian efficiency! That’s why in Asia they put a little push pad for you to press and the door slides open, which seems a little counterproductive for an automatic door but it’s the best of both worlds…
Enough with doors! So the place is set out fast food style. You have to make the procession all the way to the back of the restaurant to make your order. The menu is pared down to Ramen (both hot and cold options) and the classic sides. The restaurant website boasts a 47 year journey for this restaurant, the owner going through his competitors’ trash to get here… To be honest you’ll enjoy yourself much more if you don’t get too restaurant critic over this place.
It was surprisingly moist and tender with the subtle Kara-age flavours despite looking rather insignificant and bitty. This was a wholly serviceable side dish compared to some recent ones I had. Not the best but not inedible either.
I don’t think I’ve ever had a gyoza and been amazed with it. Simply put Japanese gyoza is no match for its Chinese cousins. At Yamagoya this ran true. I’ve had worse and these had a surprising extra element to them but they weren’t crispy enough and were doughy in between.
On to the main show. Yamagoya’s eponymous ramen is a pretty standard affair. It’s wholly adequate and a good lunch option. However, the broth is a little lacking and a bit too watery but was enough to pass off as ramen. In general, that’s the feeling for everything in the bowl, adequate but nothing exceptional.
This is more an Instagram friendly dessert than an indulgent guilty pleasure. The Kinako powder and syrup give it the flavours it needs, otherwise it’s a pretty, wiggly piece of jelly that tastes of nothing. But it’s worth a try.
Overall don’t take Yamagoya too seriously, it’s a good lunch option in the area. Even though it’s not the best Ramen in London somehow I feel like I’ve walked into a Ramen joint somewhere in Asia. They even have those signature food molds the Japanese love having outside their restaurant!
Address: 49 The Cut, Waterloo, SE1 8LF
Telephone: 0207 734 5416
Mind the Gap:
Mon – Sun: 11.30am – 11pm
Panda ate, shot and left.