20 Aug Ichiba – Westfield
This Summer a number of new centres have opened in central London, aiming to give you a taste of Japanese life. Japan House London has taken off in High St Kensington with a celebration of Japan’s meticulous craftsmanship. More recently, Westfield Shepherd’s Bush has unveiled Ichiba, the new baby from the owners of the Japan Centre and Shoryu Ramen. At it is Europe’s largest Japanese food hall, you will be spoilt for choice!
As well as open kitchen spaces churning out noodles, buns, curry and yakitori there is a bakery featuring a variety of super soft bread clouds. The store includes homeware goods, books and perfectly wrapped gifts as well as groceries. There is a fresh section where you can get thinly sliced meats and seafood, fantastic for hot pots or grilling. The sake bar is tempting, but should you prefer to wine at home, they have a large cabinet full for you to browse.
The system for dining here is very simple to navigate. Order and pay at the till, then wait for your buzzer to go off to collect your meal. We ordered piri piri tonkotsu ramen and grilled salmon donburi. Both were delivered at the same time, within minutes of ordering so it’s a very quick process. The ramen is spiked with green chillies, providing a perfect amount of heat for a lunchtime meal. You won’t be sweating your way back to work, but it will wake you up! You get all the usual ramen condiments such as seaweed, soft boiled egg and pork. The soup is packed with flavour too. This is to be expected from the Shoryu ramen team, I’ve always been a fan! I chose for the salmon to come over white rice, though you can choose brown if you prefer. Vegetable sides included sweetcorn, pickled ginger, sliced spring onions and grated carrot. Drizzled on top is a miso sauce decorated with sesame seeds. The bowl is so big it makes it look like there’s not much food, I was a bit underwhelmed on arrival. However, despite being ravenous myself, it turned out to be a perfect portion size and I was comfortably full. The salmon was still soft and juicy (nothing worse than dry grilled salmon).
We had a browse of the market and homeware sections – there’s lots to enjoy here and is great if you’re looking for presents. It’s fun being able to look into the kitchen, particularly the more theatrical grilling stations. The menu is wide ranging so you can try many different types of Japanese food at a good price. Definitely worth a try, plus it’s quieter and less hectic than the main Westfield food hall can be. Whether you on a working break or on a shopping trip, go and get a your daily dose of Japan!
Total Receipt (2 people): £16.80
1x Piri Piri Tonkotsu Ramen 8.9
1x Grilled Salmon Donburi 7.9
Rating: 8/10 One stop Japanese shop
Ichiba, Unit 0220, Relay Square, Westfield, London W12 7HB (near John Lewis)