Nick Stanton's Ramblr is what we call a Venn Diagram restaurant. It sits in the middle of two worlds, where 'casual' meets 'fine dining' and Europe and Asia collide in some sort of delicious tectonic eruption.
Stanton also owns Leonard's House Of Love, just down the road, alongside Guy Bentley and Jonathan Harper. But you get the feeling Leonard's is the 1970s mistress—Ramblr is the one he'll grow old and feed the ducks with. And until now he's tried to keep the Ramblr offering pretty tight: dinner service only. A select, seasonal menu. But there are rumblings at Ramblr, because now they're open for lunch as well.
Stanton is dialling the starch down a notch for the lunch menu. It's built around casual elbow-rubbing Asian eats, borrowing broad strokes from Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Thai and Japanese cuisines, plus some specific dishes from Xi'an and Chongqing. The line-up will change pretty regularly, but the ramen bowls are here to stay.
If you're a ramen fan (and if you breathe oxygen, we assume you are), do yourself a favour and check these out. Ramblr is offering six varieties at the moment. Pork purists and ramen newbies should snuffle up to the Tonkatsu: a 24-hour pork stock topped with soy-braised pork belly and spring onion sofrito, bean shoots and katsuobushi (smoked skipjack tuna). Personally though, we can't get enough of the umami-powered Shrooman: shitake and kombu with Portobello mushroom puree, miso, peanut butter sofrito (!!), bean shoots and chilli oil. Tastes like your drinking The Magic Faraway Tree.
Ramen is the lead singer at lunchtime, but Stanton has assembled a solid supporting cast. Crispy chicken karaage skewers with the obligatory Kewpie mayo. Pickled cucumber with a dreamy silken tofu. Even a Chinese Bolognese, topped with melted mozzarella (have faith, young padawan).
The dinner offering is still whip-smart. Not much has changed there (except you can now get dinner dishes running into lunch on Fridays and Saturdays).
Ramblr is still the place to go if you want to impress a Tinder date, smooth talk your mother-in-law, or win some much-needed brownie points. We'll be back soon for another plateful.
Image credit: Jenna Fahey-White