Let me get this out of the way. Generally, I don’t believe in queuing (or running) for anything. I have other things to do with my time. But…having shown up at Kanada-ya once before and having been denied…I was on a mission. A mission to see if their ramen was really all that. Excuse to visit? Elisa was in town from Chicago and when she saw my post about why I had lunched at Ippudo instead of Kanada-ya, she offered to join me at Kanada-ya. THE PRESSURE. Nothing worse than being denied a second time, so I forced poor Elisa to meet me at 4:30 pm — a full 30 minutes before Kanada-ya opened — so that we were guaranteed a spot. Luckily, we weren’t the first in the queue. We were #3 and #4. And within a few minutes, #5 and #6 were queued up behind us. We spent our time waiting catching up while alternately watching the team at Kanada-ya set up a scary looking heat-lamp that dispensed flames — unnecessarily so in my humble opinion.
London is not cold. London is balmy! I am wandering around town with a lightweight jacket! Why do they need this heat lamp?? It is very kind of them, but they already have other heat lamps so this one seems unnecessary. And unnerving. A column of fire!
The doors open at 5 p.m. on the dot. We are quickly seated and quickly place our orders…original ramen, hard noodles, with an egg each and Elisa opts for the garlic sauce too. 10 minutes later, our bowls of porky goodness arrive. It’s all pretty delicious and pretty satisfying…but is it worth the (sometimes) queue? Hmmm. I liked my ramen at Ippudo too, and I didn’t have to wait. Although the egg at Kanada-ya is better…it’s a (seemingly marinated) hanjuku egg, whereas Ippudo seemed to forego the marinated and just serve me a soft-boiled egg. I don’t know if the egg alone would make me wait in the queue at Kanada-ya though. There’s something to be said for Ippudo’s full service bar…(Priorities, people. Priorities!) Kanada-ya does offer a few Japanese beers though…
We tried to add service to the bill and we were denied! There’s something to be said for that. Also, that they are so concerned about their poor customers queuing up for them in the “cold” London air that they went out and purchased an outdoor heat lamp to supplement the already existing heat lamps. Nice of them. Caring. Sweet.
The Verdict: Nice. Small. Compact. Tasty. But if there’s a queue, Ippudo across the street is just fine.