Sticks & Broth, Baldwin Street: Review

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El Guapo and Guerrilla Burger didn’t fare too well at their former home in Bridge House on Baldwin Street, giving the premises a reputation of being doomed. It’s great to see, though, that Sticks & Broth don’t appear to be likely to suffer the same short lifespan as their predecessors.

Jointly owned and run by the team behind Baowow and those who ran the Thai kitchen at The Old Fish Market pub across the road, Sticks & Broth, as the name suggests, is all about yakitori and ramen.

For the team, it’s not about trying to be a traditional ramen bar: it’s about combining a range of different flavours and ingredients to create something a little different. This difference extends to the decor too: a combination of an industrial look, with plenty of exposed pipe work and a corrugated iron-fronted kitchen, and a more edgy, urban look with Japanese-style artwork and fish images on the walls – plus some intriguing light fittings that call sea urchins to mind.

Open Monday to Saturday, 12pm to 11pm, it seems that Sticks & Broth are still going strong. Seating is packed in tightly, meaning it’s not the place for you if wanting an intimate and private lunch, but for me, this arrangement just added to the buzz.

Tables are adorned with uncovered bowls of pickles (which concern me, from a hygiene point of view), sauces and relatively tatty menus – including a drinks list that features craft beers, lagers and ciders, as well as ales and soft drinks. The prices are fairly high (we paid £4.35 for a pint of Kirin and £3 for a Fentimans Rose Lemonade), but the lunchtime deal more than made up for this.

The full menu – featuring small bites, sticks, donburi and ramen – is available throughout the day, while there is also a £6.50 “Tokyo Express” lunch menu available from 12-4pm, and available either to eat in or to take away – perfect for those working nearby.

It was from this menu from which we dined: Chris choosing the katsu chicken curry donburi, while I opted for the house ramen.

The donburi went down well: a generous bowl piled high with tender breaded chicken slices, a mound of perfectly cooked rice, a generously dressed salad and a rich and flavourful curry sauce.

 

Sticks n Broth - Chicken Katsu Curry Donburi

 

It’s fair to say that my house ramen was nothing short of fantastic: the slow cooked pork bone broth was out of this world. Garnished with a nori sheet and piled high with a heap of fresh rocket, sprinkled with sesame seeds, it was only after working my way through that I reached the tender strands of pulled beef brisket, bamboo shoots, beansprouts and slice of grilled corn – along with the beautifully cooked half soy egg and the mound of noodles nestled at the bottom. Not only were the flavours fantastic and the presentation outstanding, but £6.50 was an incredibly small price to pay for a bowl of food that was so generous.

 

Sticks n Broth - House Ramen

 

If you haven’t yet visited Sticks & Broth, I’d recommend rectifying that as soon as possible. Whether for a bargain lunch or a buzzy dinner, it’s clear that the team know what they’re doing.

 

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