Madrid Eats: Ramen Kagura
Another quick review, catching up on some trips earlier this year to Madrid!
The ramen boom came to Spain a couple years ago, so I'd had Ramen Kagura on my list of places to try for a while. I finally got to pay a visit!
I went at around 10pm on a cold night in February, and there was about a 15 minute wait to be seated, with the vestibule full of hungry diners. Overhearing their conversation, this wait was considered surprisingly short, because they said the other day they waited an hour to get in. Indeed, on the door there was a sign urging diners waiting outside to form a line down the sidewalk in order to not bother neighbors.
Upon sitting down, you're greeted with a placemat with some chatty advice about how to enjoy your ramen, for example slurping helps to cool the soup and amplify the flavors, and that one should avoid too much conversation and eat the noodles ASAP in order that the noodles don't absorb too much soup. They also point out that you can request a hair tie to avoid long hair from "picking up the tonkotsu flavor" and that you can order more noodles if you have extra soup. I thought this was quite enlightening!
I knew I would be full with just a regular "200g" order of ramen for 7.80€ (they also offer small and large orders, with 100g and 400g of ramen respectively), but with the idea that "it's a rare occasion to eat here" I ordered the chicken karaage (5.80€) since it's one of my favorite dishes.
This was one of the best I've had outside of Japan. The coating was crisp and light, and the chicken inside was amazingly juicy. I could have used a touch more acid in the form of a sauce or more lemon, but that's just my preference. Very nicely done.
The ramen itself was above average. The tonkotsu broth was nice and meaty, but the egg yolk in the braised egg was already hard, when it's nice to find it more runny. The pork chashu was a bit cool, though. And what's that lemon wedge doing in there? I guess I could have used that on my chicken karaage!
The experience of Ramen Kagura lasts until the very end, when you're greeted by their pig mascot at the bottom of your bowl!
I can see why Ramen Kagura attracts such long lines: it offers excellent food at reasonable prices. Is it worth waiting an hour in line for? There are very, very few things I'd really wait an hour in line for, and this probably isn't one of them. But if you can catch it with little wait, it's definitely worth a special visit.
Calle de las Fuentes, 1