This Ginza ramen bar opened in March 2013, and quickly built up a local reputation as being one of the best in the city,. It has no website or telephone, and does not take reservations (at the time of writing it closes on Sunday). The original branch is near the Mitsukoshi department store, and has queues of legendary proportions for its eight available seats. This one is the newer and less well-known sister branch nearby, whose queues are merely considerable. It is at basement level within the Ginza station underground mall, which is quite a extensive complex. It is close to the Marunouchi entrance of the Ginza station, just under the Sukiyabashi crossing. We waited just twenty minutes in line for one of its eight seats. It is smarter than most ramen joints, reminiscent of a sushi bar, with an open kitchen behind the wooden counter.
Kagari has two basic offerings. Tori-paitan soba noodles are served in a thick, creamy chicken soup (yes, chicken rather than the traditional pork) with chopped onion. Niboshi-shōyu soba is a darker soup made from dried sardines and seasoned with soy sauce. You can add a few toppings such as garlic butter or fried lotus roots to either. A little bowl of vegetables appears as you sit down to order; this had green and red pepper, beetroot, sweet potato, mange tout, asparagus, okra, tomatoes and radicchio. These were pleasant enough but unremarkable.
The classic chicken soup version that we tried had quite strong chicken flavour and the thin noodles had good texture. I was particularly impressed with the quality of the slices of chicken on top, which really tasted of chicken, unlike almost any bird that you can find in the UK, and this in a ramen bar where the entire bowl of ramen cost €980 (£5). There was a good quality brand of vinegar available to be added to the soup if you wish.
This is not somewhere to linger, and once you finish your bowl of soup that is it and you quickly vacate your seat for the growing line of people queueing outside. Certainly this is very well made ramen and at a fiver represents excellent value.