20 July 2016

The Right Side of the Tracks: Bone Daddies, Bermondsey

Since my trip to Japan in 2014, I've been on a bit of a ramen kick but somehow hadn't made it to Bone Daddies, which opened to much acclaim in 2012 thanks to its tasty bowls of Japanese comfort food. The Soho original now has several sister restaurants, including one in Old Street, which opened a few weeks ago. Of more interest to this Bermondsey blogger, however, is their Spa Terminus location in one of the railway arches on the Old Jamaica Road.

The Bermondsey ramen bar is officially designated the 'development kitchen' and is, at present, open only on Saturdays from noon until 10 pm. Most of the other producers in the area are open to retail customers on Saturdays too — as is the Bermondsey Beer Mile. Indeed, one of the beer mile stops, UBREW, is right next door to Bone Daddies, and during my visit, there was a party of Hawaiian-shirt-clad lads, who were weighing up the pros and cons of mid-Beer Mile ramen.

There are a dozen or so small tables inside and a few more tables in the yard outside. It was an unusually clement summer Saturday, so I decided to sit outside. Most of the dishes on the menu are ramen noodle based but there are also plenty of snacks and sides. The fried chicken is supposed to be amazing and there was a special fried chicken bun on the menu that day, but given how filling ramen can be, I decided to leave room for my main course.

I had made up my mind that I would order the T22 (mustard leaf, nori, chicken and cock scratchings in a chicken bone broth; £10) but when I heard the specials I changed my mind. The Bermondsey Bone Daddies often offers sneak previews of future menu items at the other restaurants, and I really liked the sound of the special salmon ramen, which came with fried salmon, nori (seaweed) and chilli in a salmon bone broth (£11).

Well, I think I made the right call. The salmon was delicious and a little less heavy on such a hot day. The broth was very rich and flavoursome and the noodles had just the right amount of 'bite'. I added a few cloves of garlic because I love garlic; next time I might be tempted to add one of the extra toppings, which range in price from 50p to £3. £11 is a lot of money for what is essentially a bowl of noodle soup, but the ingredients were very high quality and the portions generous. I was still full nine hours later and ended up skipping dinner.

For dessert, they were serving mix-and-match mochi ice cream at £1.50 per mochi. I am not normally a huge fan of mochi but the hazelnut and coconut flavours tempted me so I ordered one of each and they were rather good, although I think I was too full to properly appreciate them. There was one cocktail on the menu — a frozen yuzu margherita, which sounded great but a little hardcore for a quick early lunch — and a few beers, wines and soft drinks. Oh, and there is sake, which I would definitely order if I was going back with a group of friends but felt a little extravagant.

Bone Daddies' Bermondsey ramen bar is a short walk from Bermondsey Tube station and from the Spa Terminus and Maltby Street markets. The geography around the railway arches can get a little confusing so do keep an eye on your map (Google Maps places it further from UBREW than it is); there are also helpful signs along the way and once you've reached the Old Jamaica Road, you are almost there. It's well worth the hunt, in any case, because the food is great and there is a fun but casual atmosphere.

Bone Daddies. Unit 27-28 Old Jamaica Business Estate, 24 Old Jamaica Road, London, SE16 4AW (Tube: Bermondsey). Website. Twitter. Instagram.

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