London Street Food Tips in 200: Tatami Ramen London, Flat Iron Square

Eating before gigs can be a frantic exercise if you don’t leave enough time for it.

Last month a friend and I slouched into Red Sea restaurant on the Uxbridge Road for an Ethiopian feast before realising we had 8 minutes to finish up, pay the bill and run the 12-minute journey to the O2 Shepherds Bush. We made it, but in an ideal world we’d have given ourselves more than 30 seconds to spare to avoid nearly chundering on the bouncer.

Pleasingly, my most recent food-to-gig transition was much smoother, thanks to the London street food set-up that is Flat Iron Square (and possibly some good planning). It isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I’ve always had a good time there – I’ve been on great dates (combination of live music, booze and food is a good’un), eaten excellent Portuguese food in Bar Douro, and I still lead part of my Sidestory tours there.

Thinking about useful pre-gig food, I’d probably have struck off ramen from the list as lots of filling liquid and dancing aren’t natural bed partners in my book. But on this occasion it worked, and we even got to Omeara in time to catch the warm-up act before Sam Frankl came on. Here’s my tip of the fortnight:


White sesame ramen with a kombucha base, from Tatami Ramen (pic: Victoria Stewart)

Black sesame ramen with a kombucha base, from Tatami Ramen (pic: Victoria Stewart)

Black sesame ramen with a kombucha base, from Tatami Ramen (pic: Victoria Stewart)

Where: Flat Iron Square, the gig venue-cum-street food hub near Borough set up by keyboardist Ben Lovett from Mumford & Sons.

What drew you in: Thoughts of “Ooh, have been meaning to try that for a while” were soon interrupted by the apparent urgency of a thumb war staged over the counter with Tatami’s co-founder. A clever move – I quickly noticed the sign for White Sesame ramen and decided I needed some.

Who’s behind it: Two Brits called Hugo and Jason. Hugo lived in Tokyo for 15 years, learnt noodle making from his father in law, then he and Jason eventually started Tatami in Barcelona, before bringing it to Flat Iron Square.

What else is on the menu: Tonkotsu ramen (a kind of Japanese noodle soup) in the Fukuoka style, including three that are pork bone-based, 3 kombucha-based and vegan. We can vouch for the incredible white and black sesame vegan ramens.

What does the food do to you: Bolsters and fills. The white sesame’s a joyous splattering of spice, comfort, freshness and crunch.

Closing thoughts: It’s a while since I went to a street food stall where the chatter was as good as the grub.

Sam Frankl playing at Omeara, Flat Iron Square

Sam Frankl playing at Omeara, Flat Iron Square

Keep an eye on the LSF Facebook page for more regular updates, and street food news.


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