"Awesome ramen in a stylish setting"Review Rating: Reviewed by T.A.O
London has seen an influx of food trends inspired by faraway shores over the past few years but who's to say that all this Korean BBQ, Southern American pulled pork or Vietnamese banh mi is being done right? Well, nobody and as long as it tastes good it probably doesn’t matter, although that doesn’t alter the fact that we were happy to hear that hip ramen restaurant chain Shoryu is the product of London’s own authentic Japan Centre. We’ve eaten ramen all over town and loved most of it – yes, we’re looking at you Tonkotsu and Bone Daddies – but we turned up at Shoryu in Kingly Court with super-high expectations of the Japan Centre’s in-house ramen joint.
The look is more modern London than traditional Tokyo - which probably makes sense since we’re in modern London – so you can expect to find an ultra slick set-up of warm blonde wooden benches, shiny tiled surfaces, dim glowy lighting and minimal Japanese flourishes waiting in Carnaby Street offshoot Kingly Court, a place that seems to have finally found its purpose in providing the area with a high density dose of trend-following food outlets – there’s also a Pizza Pilgrims next door. Seating is a mix of segregated tables for two, high communal benches and window places, which just about gives everyone a shot at their favoured style of restaurant sit-down.
And onto the food, the first thing to say about the menu is that it offers much more than most of its rival gourmet ramen outlets. There is a choice between tonkotsu (that delicious, slow-cooked, collagen infused pork broth) and regular soy based ramen and within those categories there is even more choice. You want spicy and citrus notes? You got it. Craving piri piri? They’ve got the piri piri tonkotsu for you. Etc. There are around fourteen different ramens on the menu, not including specials. We eat the Kakarka Tantan, which comes with fried minced pork, chilli oil and added garlic and also try the Kotteri Hakata tonkotsu – a ramen with a richer, meatier, thicker broth. Both bowls are incredibly rich and in truth, we can’t really differentiate between the one that is supposed to be ‘thicker, meatier and richer’ because they each have all that going for them. The spicy kick of the chilli oil is a good extra although I miss the BBQ pork (it can be ordered extra). The tonkotu feels deliciously unhealthy and that thick, fatty broth beats most other junk food any day.
Shoryu say that ramen isn’t ramen without gyoza and we’d be inclined to agree. The dainty (a little too dainty) parcels of pork are soft and floury yet charred to the correct amount – someone in that kitchen knows what they’re doing. We drink Kirin frozen head – an extra cold beer served with a Mr. Whippy style frozen beer head – which is strangely satisfying. Our meal for two came to £60 including service, gyozas and two beers each. Shoryu is probably the most expensive of London’s new wave ramen restaurants but the quality shines through.
T.A.O reviewed Shoryu Ramen on Thu 06 Nov 2014