This is a sponsored article on behalf of Yokocho.
A canopy of lanterns glows, classic J-pop fills the air, and from behind a noren curtain, a steaming hot bowl of speciality ramen appears...
Welcome to Yokocho, the retro ramen bar that recreates the downtown vibes of 1970s Tokyo here in London. It's named after the Japanese word for 'alleyway', and takes inspiration from the narrow side streets packed with restaurants, dive bars, and izakaya that can be found in every Japanese city.
The brainchild of Japan Centre, the first Yokochos launched last year on Mayfair's Heddon Street and at the Ichiba food hall in Westfield White City. Now, Japan Centre is about to unveil a third location at its newly-expanded flagship site on Panton Street, Soho.
Like the other two locations, Panton Yokocho — which launches on 11 November — offers a fully immersive experience, with all the sights, sounds, smells and tastes you need to whisk you away to Showa era Japan. Think neon lights, retro beats, and the very best regional ramen bowls from all over the country.
Slurp your way from northern Hokkaido to the southernmost tip of Kyushu with a variety of ramen dishes. Choose between curly chijire-men and slick straight hosomen noodles swimming in an umami-rich miso; a creamy tonkotsu; or a hearty vegan broth.
You can pair your bowl of noodly goodness with sides like crispy gyoza or fluffy hirata buns, and there's a superb selection of sake cocktails to wash it all down with. Oh, and do yourself a favour and try Yokocho's famous melon soda — a delicious cherry-topped ice cream float.
Thanks to a buzzing atmosphere and a creative cocktail list, Yokocho is the perfect place to catch up with friends and family. What's more, if you choose the new location for your next get-together, you could save big.
Dine at Panton Yokocho between Thursday 11 November and Tuesday 16 November and you can enjoy 50% off selected ramen dishes. This fantastic offer is available for both advance bookings and walk-ins.
Whether it's a spontaneous pitstop or a special occasion, Yokocho is a must-visit for foodies and Japanophiles alike. Visit the Yokocho website to find out more about all three of these retro ramen bars — including the brand new Panton Yokocho at Japan Centre — and to book your table.
Heddon Yokocho, 8 Heddon Street (Mayfair).
Ichiba Yokocho, Ichiba at Westfield White City (Shepherd's Bush).
Panton Yokocho, 35a Panton Street (Soho).