Muga Leicester Square
In my middle age I’m trying to take all this hype with a pinch of soy but I’m still excited to be asked with Fiona to review Muga, a new place specialising in Ramen off Leicester Sq from the Owners of Nagoya, a Japanese restaurant in Bond St.
Fiona starts with the Yaki-Gyoza (£4.50) or grilled chicken dumplings to the uninitiated. Sitting around the bar we can see the chefs in action and they come hot from the oven. They come with a crisp exterior but are still light and fluffy inside- a bit like Fiona. As I want to see if I can get back into my skinny suit I go for the Mixed Seaweed Salad with wasabi and yuzu dressing (£4.90). It’s a bit short on the seaweed but the spice and citrus zing of the dressing give it a real lift. If you haven’t come across yuzu before (a cross between a lime and mandarin) it’s going to be the next big thing- trust me…
We were knocking back some delicious chilled sake which set us up for the main event, the big steaming bowls of Ramen (£9.90) that Muga specialises in.
Fiona went for the Miso Ramen with Muga spicy vegetables and Kara-age (fried chicken) (£3.90 supplement) which was spicy and filling with the crisp tasty chicken batter soaking up the rich miso stock. I went for the more macho Seafood Delight (£4.90 supplement)- a Yasai Vegetable based Ramen Noodle with prawn, squid, fishcake and mixed vegetables, leek, egg, dried sesame seeds and spring onion. This was a big eat but being a greedy bastard I finished it. It was a delight with the squidginess of the egg and springiness of the noodles creating a textural counterpoint with the crunch of the spring onions and crisp batter of the seafood. It tasted pretty good too. Dorayaki (£3.90) are elegant little pancakes served warm and filled with a not-too-sweetened red bean paste. They came with a scoop of ice-cream-I went for yuzu and the citrus sharpness was a great palate cleanser.
Mochi ice-cream (£3.90) was a soft rice cake stuffed with vanilla ice-cream, topped with soybean powder and molasses. It was one of those classic Japanese sweet/savoury desserts and if that is your thing you’ll love it-if not stick to the Dorayaki.