By Maggie Majstrova
Starting with one restaurant in Soho in 2012, the Bone Daddies family has quickly found its audience, now boasting six restaurants.
The brain child of chef Ross Shonhan, Bone Daddies sought to bring three of his passions – Japanese food, rock music and the culture of London – together in one.. well, melting pot, if you’ll excuse the pun.
Launching this July, the Old Street branch was running a 50% off opening promotion, which is my favourite combo: good food at half the price. So here we were on a Monday night, thankfully not having to join the growing queue of potential punters outside the door.
I’d tweeted ahead not being able to contain my excitement so characteristically for me, I already had my selection prepared but gladly took a seat at the bar waiting for our table to be cleared and perusing the cocktail selection. In the end, with it being a Monday, most of my party opted for beer, but there was one cocktail choice, which MAY just have persuaded me that gin is not an absolutely lost cause.
The venue itself is crowded in a ‘ramen bar in the back streets of Tokyo’ sort of way, with the hustle and bustle of the kitchen spilling warmly into the dining area. The Wagamama-esque seating isn’t something I’m mad keen on in any establishment, but once you’ve fought out your elbow space with your neighbours, it does bring a community atmosphere to your dining experience.
According to the Bone Daddies Twitter message, the best dishes for a Bone Daddies newbie are the Sweet Spicy Pig Bones (£8 – ribs to you and me) and the T22 Ramen (£10), so those were a given. Plus, we also added edamame (£4, can’t ever go wrong with that) and Korean Fried Chicken Wings (£6) with my companions ordering a further selection of ramen from the menu (I hear from a good source that anything with the 20 hour pork bone broth is amazing – next time, my friend!).
My ramen (soy ramen, chicken, cock scratchings, onion and nori) is one of those dishes that’s meant to look like you’ve just thrown it together, but actually tastes like a family recipe that’s been perfected over centuries to the point that nothing could possibly be improved. The wings were sticky and spicy, the ribs fell off the bone and the edamame were cooked just right, with the perfect seasoning of salt. Yes, yes – that is drool you can see in the corner of my mouth at the mere memory.
The staff are amazingly friendly, even in the face of the extreme business of the venue, so you don’t even mind if you end up with a completely different dish to what you ordered (as was the case for some of my fellow punters). In fact, it goes with the atmosphere. Plus, this is what soft launches are for, iron out the details before the word spreads and the real rush begins. Or perhaps, it already has.