The one good thing about London restaurateurs’ current obsession with not taking reservations is that 5.30pm is now a perfectly acceptable time to meet for dinner. Whether your boss will think so or not, as you scoot out the revolving door at 5pm, is another matter entirely.
Thankfully, both my dining companion and I are our own respective bosses (at least on a Friday), so we dutifully turfed up outside Bone Daddies at 5.45pm, and prayed for our early-bird keeness to be rewarded. As we left, almost two hours later, our prayers were answered with a queue that snaked round the inside and out the door.
So is it worth the queue?
Probably not — but then, I hate queuing for food. For me, queuing for food has to end with insanely good food at a stonkingly good price. The tonkotsu ramen, with its rich porky broth and creamy-centred soft-boiled eggs, was solidly good. But not insanely I’m-coming-back-here-tomorrow good. And £15.75 for a bowl of ramen, a green tea (£3 – yup, eek) and 12.5% service probably counts as a cheap eat by London standards, but isn’t particularly awesome value.
On the other hand, the soft-shell crab (£8) was well cooked (not greasy), well sourced (fresh tasting) and definitely well portioned (two crabs).
Much has been made of Bone Daddies’ rock ‘n’ roll, ‘rough-and-ready’ attitude and decor, so I came expecting MeatLiquor-esque painted walls, grungy tattooed staff and the need for earplugs. Instead, you get a white-walled modern space, with hooks to hang your coats and music loud enough to give the place a buzz, but not so loud you’d have to raise your voice to chat.
Service: busy but friendly. Tables are all high bars with stools (so perhaps not somewhere to take the grandparents) and are mostly shared. To the staff’s credit, they didn’t try squeezing more than two couples into total onto our bench (which had 10 crowded stools) and made no move to rush us out despite the growing queue.
Return visit? Perhaps, as an option if dining with friends who want something relaxed and central and dare to suggest Wagamama.
Japanese noodle-wise, I’m afraid my heart still belongs to udon.
31 Peter Street
London W1F 0AR