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

In line with the nationwide state of emergency declared on April 16, the government is strongly requesting that residents stay at home whenever possible and refrain from visiting bars, restaurants, music venues and other public spaces.
Coronavirus banner