Bone Kettle – Pasadena

Being cost conscious, I thought twice about ordering a $24 bowl of ramen. However it was my birthday, and I was at Bone Kettle, a place famed for their bone broth.  This Southeast Asian restaurant in Pasadena takes something as basic as beef bones boiled in water and has made it their signature dish, with crowds eager for the honor of consuming it.


Although the bone broths are the main draw, there are several appetizers and entrees on the menu, like nasi goreng and a Singaporean chili lobster. We started with fried cauliflower, with both white and purple cauliflower florets, coconut lime aioli, pine nuts and pork floss. My dining partner swears by the dish, but I’ll pass on it next time.


We also ordered the spicy papaya salad. Julienned strips of papaya, chunks of mangoes, tomatoes and green beans were tossed with chili, cilantro, peanuts and shrimp and made for a refreshing starter. If you like spicy, you’ll be disappointed – though I have a low heat threshold and was quite happy with it.


When the broth arrived, it was quite the production, with the waiter dramatically pouring it into the bowls, which held ramen, carrots and red onions. The 36-hour broth lived up to the hype, like the purest chicken soup you’ve ever tasted, clear rather than milky. The ramen noodles were nothing special, more there for the enjoyment of eating with the broth.


The ox tail was served on the side and was huge – much larger than my fist. The meat was succulent, like an osso buco (but without that guilt of eating veal) and fell right off the bone. We made the mistake of ordering two of these (the waiter did question our gluttony), so we had leftovers  – which isn’t such a bad thing. Sadly, we were too full to explore the dessert menu.


Service is attentive and friendly as you would expect in a swanky restaurant like this. If spending $24 for the ox tail gives you pause (as it did for me), it’s big enough to split, or you can select one of the lower priced broth pairings, which start at $14 for the sirloin. Sharing is highly encouraged as the menu says, “Family style is the best style.” I would agree.

Location – 67 North Raymond Ave., Pasadena, CA 91103
Website –
Kid’s Menu – No
Vegetarian/Vegan Friendly – Yes
Gluten-Free Options – Yes

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