Marugame Udon has long been one of Japan’s favourite noodle houses, and back in 2021 they followed the well-trodden path from Asia to London that other hit spots – think Din Tai Fung, CoCo Ichibanya, and Jollibee – had walked before. First opening in Spitalfields, just around the corner from massive Italian food hall Eataly, Marugame Udon is spreading across town, with outposts at the O2 Arena, and from February 3, 2022 at Canary Wharf and St Christopher’s Place in Marylebone. Since they’re renowned as udon and tempura masters, we’re pretty damn glad this noodle empire is here!
Now, to celebrate the beautiful cherry blossom season between March 22 and April 26, Maragame have installed some lovely decorations at their Liverpool street kitchen. As you can see, the pink colours are looking pretty stunning.
And, diners at Maragame will even be offered the chance to add their own style to the cherry blossom-inspired décor. Those eating at the Liverpool Street spot will be given their own origami blossom, and can write their own message of hope to add tot he flourishing tree.
Oh, we should probably tell you about the food too (sorry, just distracted by the pink tree). For those who’ve never had them before (you’re missing out, FYI!), udon noodles are thick wheat-based noodles, and one of the most popular dishes in Japanese cuisine. In fact, Marugame Udon brags that 150 million bowls of udon are consumed in their Asia and US restaurants every year – and London adds plenty more to that total. Using the Sanuki udon tradition, Marugame Udon continues a heritage stretching back centuries, and serves up a delectable range of noodles.
The menu boasts the likes of Kama Age, Beef Nikutama (with sweet short-rib and onsen egg), Two Pork Tonkotsu, and Chicken Katsu Curry Udon, and I’d like them all, please. Elsewhere, you can expect to find tempura to tempt you, with chicken, prawn, pumpkin, and squid croquettes all present, and fresh vegetables fried before your eyes. Marugame Udon’s chefs have also perfected a vegan tempura batter, and the restaurant has pledged that vegan dishes will make up 30% of the menu. The London branches are the first to boast a vegan offering, which feels like pretty pleasing progress to me.
Walking into Marugame Udon, the first thing you’ll see is the ‘Kama’: the udon boiler, where freshly-made noodles will be produced each day. It hearkens back to the early Kagawa udon kitchens, where noodles were served for the benefit of friends and family. See chefs at work in the open kitchen, and pick your udon over the counter for the freshest noods.
You can also build your own bowls with the restaurant’s condiment station – and mains start from as little as £3.45, music to our ears. Finally, the desserts are plenty tempting; unlimited soft serve ice cream (vanilla and vegan matcha are the choices), stuffed dorayaki pancakes, and Little Moons mochi are all options here. Udon’t want to miss out on a meal like this, trust me!
Also published on Medium.