Marugame Japanese Udon | Liverpool Street

When posts on Marugame started floating around on Instagram, I knew it would be a must visit when it opened. On a day out to Shoreditch on my birthday in June, I walked passed the very restaurant and got extremely excited, I couldn't wait for it to be open! 

Udon is one of my favourite ever noodles; the chewy and toothsome bite is just irresistible. Until Marugame came along, there was only one other udon restaurant in London; Koya. I have loved Koya to death, and it could only be good news that more udon restaurants were opening up in London. 

Marugame is set up just like the simple and affordable every day chain restaurants in Japan. I fell in love with one when we went to Tokyo for our honeymoon back in 2013. Udon noodles are made freshly on site every day. You pick your noodle, your soup base, any stewed toppings like braised pork and then you slide your tray along to the tempura station to choose your fried goodies. The final step is to add toppings like sliced onions and tempura scraps, and then you're ready to tuck in.

For its first week of opening, Marugame gave away free bowls of udon, redeemable by joining their membership club on their website. It proved to be a huge hit as we had to queue for 1 hour and 15 mins before we could even get in! 

The great thing was the self-serve canteen style set up. Once we were at the top of the queue, we went straight up to the counter to order our food, collect the udon, choose any extras, pay up and find a table to eat. I took Isaac with me and we both went for Kake, a plain udon with a fish dashi soup and then loaded up on a selection of tempura. I also ordered the two pork tonkotsu udon and beef nikutama udon for takeaway so could have it for dinner too.

The kake with tempura was simply perfect. Super bouncy, thick and chewy noodles in an umami packed savoury soup. Eaten together with crunchy and freshly fried tempura, it was the ultimate comfort food! So, so good. 

The pork udon and beef udon we took home didn't fare as well, the udon losing most of its chew when reheated up. The tonkotsu broth in the udon was actually quite good but it felt like I was eating a confused ramen, and the spicy miso pork mince was just lacking something. Beef udon was too sweet although braised very nicely and was tender. 

The kake udon was the winner for me and only costing an incredible £4.45! I also grabbed a couple of the omusubi rice parcels, a classic Ramune drink and a bowl for unlimited refill of their soft serve ice cream. The bill came to just under £40, an unbelievable value for the amount of food we had. 

A few days after our visit, Marugame sent their customers an email tempting us back with 2 free tempura, and of course we obliged! Keen to eat the kake again along with tempura, I grabbed this again and a katsu chicken curry udon.

It was insanely delicious! The curry is watered down compared to a regular Japanese curry but it didn't lack flavour and was the perfect consistency with the udon. Big juicy pieces of crispy chicken packs out the portion size in this meal, and all for just £6.45! I took another one home for G's dinner that night. 

Comparing Marugame to Koya, Marugame is like your every day, very high quality udon chain from Japan, with good unfussy flavours and amazing value for money. Koya is much more refined, with a more delicate taste and finesse. I'd say London is very, very lucky to have both of these udon restaurants under its wings. 

114 Middlesex Street
E1 7ES 

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