Tonkotsu, Selfridges Food Hall

Shopping with the tweenagers inevitably ends (and begins actually) with a chorus of: ‘I’m hungry. I’m literally starving.’

While there’s nothing wrong with McDonald’s et al – although film-maker Morgan Spurlock (of Super Size Me fame) might disagree – it’s not the dream and I’m aware that my girls need proper sustenance to nourish their growing bodies. They’ll hate me for writing that. A true test of whether they read the magazine.

Yo Sushi has become our go to, but in the interest of not becoming predictable we headed to Tonkotsu at the buzzing Selfridges food hall. The high stools and bar set-up appealed largely because we wanted a swift, but tasty lunch that did the job before ploughing on with me concocting yet more spurious excuses not to go into the world’s largest Primark. Nothing fancy. In and out.

The menu was succinct and clear with gyoza, ramen and hiyashi (essentially salad with noodles) and sides like kimchi, pickles, edamame, greens with a yuzu dressing, etc. You get the picture.

Chicken katsu did what it was supposed to. Crunchy on the outside, moist in the middle with an excellently rich punchy sauce that the youngest mopped up enthusiastically. There was enough rice to feed four hungry adults.

King prawn, popcorn prawn and crab with a goma dressing was also gargantuan. The large juicy prawns and the lightly battered crisp popcorn prawns were really good and while the crab looked a bit sludgy, it tasted great. There were lots of greens, an egg and a generous heap of noodles too. The menu read ‘chilled noodles’, but these were another level of cold. I know it’s essentially a salad, but it was a weird sensation eating the very hot popcorn prawns with fridge cold noodles. The zingy goma dressing was a winner.

Plump gyoza with prawn and spring onion were packed with flavour thanks to a good thwack of warming ginger. The portion was much more sensible for a light lunch. At £30 all in, it wasn’t bad value and certainly less than we’d have spent in Yo Sushi but the amount of food we left – mainly rice and noodles – was guilt inducing. Smaller plates might be a thing.

Tonkotsu, Selfridges Food Hall, Upper Mall East, Bullring, B5 4BP