Marugame London does Halal Chicken

East Asians would be quite familiar with the name Marugame as they are a Japanese udon fast-food chain all around Japan and beyond. Just like every time I hear a popular Asian brand coming to London, I was super happy & excited that Marugame has come to London and finally bring in some real quality udon noodles to the city! Marugame London first started out at Liverpool Street, which also happens to be their first ever branch in Europe. Very quickly, they’ve then expanded to multiple branches all across central London including Bond Street, Oxford Circus, Canary Wharf, The O2, and plenty more in the pipeline.

One of the biggest draws of Marugame London is that you can get a bowl of udon noodles as cheap as £3.45! I’ve previously visited one of the branches in Hong Kong at a food court and enjoyed it there even though I was limited to a very plain udon dish. It’s the definition of affordable quality food. Discovering that the London branches offer some halal chicken options (details below), of course, we had to pay them a visit and visited the Oxford Circus branch.

Marugame: The Japanese Udon Specialist

To many, udon is just another type of Asian noodle out there. But what people don’t know is the entire craft behind it. Freshly handmade udon noodles take techniques and finesse, and it truly makes a difference from cheap packages. When I was young, I actually wasn’t the biggest fan of udon noodles because of all the cheap packaged varieties. After being exposed to the real deal though, I was absolutely head over heels about it!

Marugame prides itself as an udon specialist from Japan and is a reputable name across east Asia. Stepping in their London restaurants, you can see in front of you how the udon noodles are freshly made and cooked in their open kitchen. How the restaurant works is almost like a canteen-style. You first grab a tray and move along where you place your order. Once you collect your main dish, it’ll lead you to the tempura station, where you help yourself with picking up what you like and the sauces. Then there would be a drinks section before you end up at the till to pay.

Chicken is halal at Marugame London EXCEPT for any broth-based dishes as they contain alcohol (this includes both seafood and vegetarian noodle soups). All tempura are halal except for the chicken karaage.

The Food: What We Ordered

Date of dining: October 2022

A bowl of Chicken Katsu Curry Udon at Marugame London

Chicken Katsu Curry Udon (£8.95)

The chicken katsu looked absolutely gorgeous over the bed of fresh udon noodles. It was ridiculously crispy on the outside, offering a lovely crunch for every bite of the chicken. The meat itself was also tender to bite and it was, all in all, pretty good. As for the udon, i.e. what Marguame is most known for, the fine quality of ingredients in the noodle-making really shone through. The noodles were perfectly chewy and bouncy in texture and simply a delight to slurp through. What’s got room for improvement, though, was the curry itself, which we feel could be a little richer in flavour. But it’s still a decent one and for an easy cheap meal, we really can’t complain much.

Chicken Katsu Curry Rice (£8.95)

The chicken katsu curry rice is essentially the same as the udon except for the difference in the choice of carbs. If we were to pick one, we definitely prefer the udon more.

A plate of prawn tempura and gyozas at Marugame London

Tempura (£0.85 – £2.45)

We grabbed a few tempuras to try out as well. The first that really caught our eye was the Prawn Tempura (£2.25 each). They were all humongous in size and looked very enticing. However, what fell short for the prawn tempura was the coating which was rather gummy in texture. We also tried the Gyozas (£0.85 each) – one with chicken and one with vegetables. They weren’t much difference between the two fillings. The gyozas were fried till crispy on the outside but, on the whole, weren’t anything particularly special or memorable.

Last but not least, we had the Chicken Tender Tempura (£2.25 each), which is something I’ve never come across before. Unfortunately, we were rather disappointed with it. Essentially, it was a large chunk of chicken breast coated with a light tempura batter. Whilst the texture was tender for chicken breast, it just lacked flavour and was bland to taste. Accompanied by the gummy tempura exterior, it really failed to make an impression.

Restaurant Review Summary

It’s absolutely great to have Marugame in London and to see them catering to some halal options. If you are looking for a cheap lunch/dinner in central London, you can count on them to offer something of good quality and very much fulfilling. There is no question that the udon noodles are top-notch and lived up to their reputation in Asia. But what’s lacking, from our experience in the London Oxford Circus branch, was the tempura which got a big room for improvement. Other than that, it’s all love from us for Marugame London!

Looking for other halal Japanese restaurants? Check these out too:

  • Food
  • Atmosphere
  • Value for Money

Halal Status

Chicken is halal at Marugame London EXCEPT for any broth-based dishes as they contain alcohol (this includes both seafood and vegetarian noodle soups). All tempura are halal except for the chicken karaage.

Instagram: marugameuk

Nearest station: Oxford Circus

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