Katsu curry and ramen takeaway at Norwich pub brings taste of Japan to city

Katsu curry takeaway from Hatake Ramen Club at The Eagle pub in Norwich. 

Katsu curry takeaway from Hatake Ramen Club at The Eagle pub in Norwich. - Credit: James Randle

Hatake Ramen Club launched at The Eagle pub in Norwich last summer, offering a collection of authentic Japanese main dishes and sides. Louisa Baldwin decided to give it a try. 

Food

Hatake Ramen Club is run by chef Ninnie Lear and offers ramen on Wednesdays and katsu curry on Fridays and Saturdays.

After following its Instagram page for a while and feeling hungry immediately whenever a picture of its food popped up on my feed, I decided to pre-order a takeaway for collection with my partner.

We decided to go for the Saturday katsu curry and it was easy to order, with the weekly menus posted on social media and we messaged with our choices.

We collected it from the car park at The Eagle pub in Newmarket Road and when we got it home it was still piping hot, though one of the dipping sauces had leaked slightly.

For our mains we ordered both the brined chicken thigh katsu and the butternut squash and sweetcorn croquette, aubergine and sweet potato katsu (both £12.50). 

Brined chicken thigh katsu curry from Hatake Ramen Club. 

Brined chicken thigh katsu curry from Hatake Ramen Club. - Credit: James Randle

We cut everything in half so we could try it all and both came with steamed Japanese rice, which tipped out the tub in a perfect sphere, homemade mild curry sauce, pickles and toasted, sesame-dressed shredded cabbage. 

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The chicken was wonderfully tender and encased in crispy golden brown panko breadcrumbs, which kept their crunch even when generously lathered with the sauce.

The thick sauce was indulgent and tangy and I could have easily sat and ate it out the pot with a spoon. 

The vegetarian option was equally as good, if not even better, than the chicken.

Butternut squash and sweetcorn croquette, aubergine and sweet potato katsu. 

Butternut squash and sweetcorn croquette, aubergine and sweet potato katsu. - Credit: James Randle

The butternut squash and sweetcorn croquette was a delightful disc that was music my mouth, with the sweetcorn adding texture.

Both the sweet potato and aubergine were also encased in panko breadcrumbs and the latter kept its bite without being chewy, which can often happen.

The sticky rice was moreish and punctuated with the flavour of sesame seeds and the cabbage added freshness.

I did leave the pickles though as celery and cucumber are two of my least favourite foods, but my boyfriend was happy with the double portion and said it was tasty.

Japanese fried chicken from Hatake Ramen Club. 

Japanese fried chicken from Hatake Ramen Club. - Credit: James Randle

For our sides we had the Japanese fried chicken (£6.50) which were bite-sized chunks of joy and the sauce gave a kick, though we had less of it as it was the one that had leaked and I would have liked it a little thicker.

We also ordered the spicy cauliflower nuggets (£5.50), which were a special on the menu, and it was a huge portion with crunchy cauliflower encased in light batter, punchy sauce and finely-chopped chillies and spring onions. Delicious.

Spicy cauliflower nuggets from Hatake Ramen Club.

Spicy cauliflower nuggets from Hatake Ramen Club. - Credit: James Randle

All the food was also dairy-free which was great as my boyfriend is intolerant and often curry sauces contain milk.  

Price 

The four dishes came to £37 in total, which we felt was good value as you would easily pay that, if not more, in a Japanese restaurant.

Service

It was very simple to order and Ninnie was very helpful with allergens. Collection was also stress-free and he brought it to our car window and we paid by card on his contactless machine.

Highlight

The katsu vegetables as it is something different I haven't tried before. 

In Summary

A brilliant takeaway born out of lockdown with generous portions and food packed with flavour - I'm looking forward to trying the ramen on a Wednesday next. 

Our food reviews are always independent. They are the opinion of the reviewer based on their experience of the venue when they visited.

The establishment is not aware of our visit, is not informed we intend to write a review and bills are paid by the reviewer.

The choice of places reviewed is also independent and is not based on venues which do or do not advertise in our publications.

Our food reviews are always independent. They are the opinion of the reviewer based on their experience of the venue when they visited.

The establishment is not aware of our visit, is not informed we intend to write a review and bills are paid by the reviewer.

The choice of places reviewed is also independent and is not based on venues which do or do not advertise in our publications.

If you like that try these...

1. The Cabin, Cromer

Justin Unsworth opened The Cabin takeaway in Cromer last summer, offering Asian-inspired tacos and rice boxes. It followed the success of his food van that has been popping up at events across Norfolk since 2018 and he is currently doing deliveries.

2. Blue Joanna, Norwich

Blue Joanna offers tapas-style street food, including its popular Korean blue tacos, wasabi and gin battered prawns and chicken wings with spring onion and sesame seeds. Takeaways are currently available to collect on Fridays and Saturdays.

3. Shiki, Norwich

If you love sushi, then look no further than Shiki in Tombland, which is offering takeaway delivery or collection. Also on the menu are donburi rice bowls, katsu curries, udon noodle dishes and onigiri rice balls. 

How you can support your favourite restaurant in lockdown:

Takeaways - While more places have opted to stay closed for the next few weeks, plenty are still open and offering takeaway meals for delivery or collection.

Vouchers - A valuable way to help businesses, you can buy yourself - or a loved one, as a gift - a voucher now to enjoy when it's safe to do so down the line.

Shop local - Make sure to support restaurant and pub suppliers, including beer, cheese and fruit and vegetables, by shopping local.

Social media - It's not an easy time for many people financially. A simple like on Facebook or follow on Instagram shows support for traders, though, and can help them build exposure.

Don't forget them when they reopen - It might feel like it, but this lockdown isn't forever, and our support should be consistent.

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