Chicken karaage: Toriyoshi (鳥良)
It was first time lucky that we were literally the last people to jump into Ichiran Ramen before the ridiculous lunch hour queue. If you're looking for it, be warned it's 'underground' so look out for stairs that lead down.
Everything about the chain - from its electronic board showing which booths are occupied to its built-in taps - is designed for speed and convenience. If you're sitting with two people, you can slide the divider between booths away.
The ramen is ridiculously customisable but we chose to go with the most standard options as it was our first time. I don't pretend to be a ramen connoisseur by any stretch of the imagination but it was very decent ramen.
The broth was very vivid and the noodles were cooked well - very thin with just the right amount of springiness. They were perhaps a little stingy with the toppings, though you can order extra meat and toppings etc. for an additional price (the seaweed you see here was an 'extra'). The red sauce is slightly spicy. One standard ramen cost about 700Y, if I recall correctly.
The best part was their toilet paper holder collection in the bathroom!
Ichiran Ramen (Shinjuku branch) 3-34-11 B1F Shinjuku Shinjuku-ku Tokyo Opening: 24hrs (!!)
TORIYOSHI (鳥良) (HARAJUKU)
Possibly among the best chicken karaage I've tasted for the best value - this big plate of piping hot, freshly fried chicken only cost around 700yen as a lunch set and was more than enough (chicken karaage is not to be eaten in huge amounts). R had an enormous chicken curry platter with a gigantic chicken katsu piece (which turned out blurry on my phone) for the same price.
The interior decor is minimal and tasteful - full of dark wood and smooth, dark surfaces. The only setback is that the space is windowless, open plan and smoking is allowed so be prepared for some non-food aromas in the air. Also, different branches are open for different meals (some will only open for lunch or dinner).
Definitely recommended if you're in a 'deliciously fried unhealthy meal for cheap prices' mood. I'm sure there's also a lot more on offer.
Opening: Lunch - 11:30～14:30 Dinner - 17:00～24:00
CHIBO (千房) (EBISU)
So we all know that there's the best okonomiyaki in Osaka but how does its fellow Osaka-originating competitor, Chibo (千房), rank on the scale? I would have to say our experience in its Ebisu Garden Place branch was not as great as Mizuno's but it's not that far off either.
A mere 700Y will get you a filling Hiroshima-yaki (which incorporates noodles) for lunch. The okonomiyaki was already cooked for us by the time it arrived at our table so we didn't get to watch the cooking process. The okonomiyaki is a lot more dense than others because of the noodles but very nice and rife with different ingredients.
V also ordered some autumn scallops in special yuzu sauce. It was, unsurprisingly, not at Tsukiji standards (according to V, who had visited Tsukiji with S a few days ago), but I thought it was delicious (three for 1000Y). Visiting the Ebisu branch will also get you a brilliant view of Tokyo from 38 storeys up, which is an amazing deal.
Mon - Fri
(☞ﾟ∀ﾟ)☞ JAPAN 2013 MASTERPOST