NB: Some of my earliest blogs no longer have their accompanying images but enjoy the copy!
Fellow foodies, I might have found the best ramen joint in London – Shoryu Ramen!
This might sound like an incredibly bold claim considering that there are very few ramen-only restaurants in London (I only know of 3) but I promise that you won’t be disappointed if you stop by this new restaurant on Regent Street.
Shoryu Ramen only opened in November 2012, directly opposite Japan Centre, and its head chef hails from Hakata in Kyushu, a region famous for its delicious ramen. Even if you aren’t a ramen-addict or have never eaten it before in your life, it is clear that the ramen here is authentic and tastes exactly like a hearty bowl of Japanese ramen is meant to taste.
A lucky accident…
Saturday night in Piccadilly is always busy and it’s considered unwise not to book a table if you’re set on going to a particularly popular place. My boyfriend was down for the weekend and I originally planned for us to go to Planet Hollywood after seeing The Hobbit. The key word here is ‘planned’ – we turned up at 7pm without booking a table and were told there would be an hour-long wait. Off we went, backtracking through Piccadilly when we spotted the flames opposite the Japan Centre.
We were lucky that Shoryu Ramen was walk-in only. We only had to wait 5 or so minutes outside (fortunately it wasn’t that cold) to be seated and within 5 minutes of ordering both had our delicious bowls of ramen!
Healthy and delicious!
Some of the key selling points of ramen for me: it’s hot, it’s delicious and it’s nutritious. There are two different types of ramen on the menu: soy broth and miso broth.
I went with the Tokyo Shoyu, which had an impressive ingredients list: soy broth, BBQ pork, nitamago (boiled egg), nori (seaweed), pickled bamboo, naruto fish cake and spring onion. My boyfriend had the Hakata Chairsiu Tonkotsu, which had tonkotsu pork broth, EXTRA BBQ pork pieces, nitamago, kikurage (a type of mushroom), white ginger, nori, seasoned beansprouts, spring onion and sesame.
We both cleared our bowls. This is an impressive achievement for me as I seem to be infamous among my friends for my inability to clear my plate. More importantly, it just goes to show how good the food was.
Matcha, matcha, matcha…
Good news if you like matcha green tea powder – it’s in most of the desserts in Shoryu! I’m more or less an addict so, even though I was full from my ramen, had to have something afterwards. The waiter recommended the matcha cheesecake and I wasn’t disappointed!
I took a photo of the menu, just to tempt you all…
And a photo of the cheesecake. 10 out of 10.
Atmosphere is key
It’s usually a good sign if a Japanese restaurant outside of Japan has lots of Japanese customers in it. Approximately half of the customers inside were either Japanese or Chinese, which we took as a good sign that the food was good enough to attract not just British people who liked Asian cooking but ‘the locals’ too. The fact that the head chef is from a Japanese district that is famous for its ramen further proves this point. Always go where the experts are.
A reasonable bill
The bowls of ramen themselves are pretty well-priced given the location and the huge portions! All of the bowls ranged from £8 to just over £10, so they’re ideal for a lunch date or enjoyable meal after work. The only reason our bill spilled into the £35 region was because we ordered alcohol (the red umeshu is lovely, by the way) and dessert. A service charge was automatically added to our bill but given how quickly the food arrived, how friendly the staff were and how great the food was, it certainly felt fair.
What is shoryu?
‘Shoryu’ is a Japanese expression meaning ‘rising dragon’ or refers to something that has ‘rising fortunes’. An appropriate name for a new restaurant, surely. We had a fantastic meal and will be back again and recommending it to others… which is why I had no choice to blog about it!
So, check out Shoryu next time you’re in London. I’m sure you’ll be converted to Japanese cuisine (if you haven’t been already) by the time you’ve finished. Hopefully this blog will have done something to persuade you too…