Food & Drink | TOKYO FOOD FILE

Konjiki Hototogisu: Ramen's new star rises in Shinjuku

by Robbie Swinnerton

Contributing Writer

Konjiki Hototogisu is exactly the kind of new-wave noodle counter that old-school ramen grinches love to hate. It’s squeaky clean and has a rustic wooden frontage. The delicate noodles are handmade in-house. The soups are light, complex and deep, with none of that porky tonkotsu greasiness. And then there’s the price: You’ll get little or no change from a ¥1,000 note.

Actually, Konjiki looked a lot grungier before it moved to its current location near Shinjuku Gyoenmae in May. But it was already legendary for its brilliant shio (salt) ramen made with a soup of hamaguri clams and tai (sea bream), seasoned with a blend of Mongolian rock salt and Okinawa sea salt. Plus garnishes of white truffle oil, porcini paste and fine-chopped pancetta.

Meanwhile, the equally outstanding shoyu (soy sauce) version is flavored with truffle sauce and porcini oil. But the ultimate bowl here is the limited-edition shoyu ramen made with hamaguri broth and duck oil. Absolutely superb.

Add one more name to the many aficionados who rate this place: Konjiki has just become Tokyo’s third ramenya with a Michelin star. Unlike previous years, this hasn’t triggered a stampede. So far, lines have been no longer than usual: Expect waits of around 30 minutes.

Ramen and tsukemen from ¥850.; English menu; little English spoken