Review: Shoryu Ramen – Soho Pop-Up

Shoryu is a garlic lover's heaven...

Shoryu is a garlic lover’s heaven…

Dear readers, apologies for the break! Exams have prevented me from blogging. However, you’ll pleased to know that *nothing* prevents me from eating! So I have a good two months’ backlog of delciousness.

For my return to the blogosphere, I bring you a 5/5 review (yes really) from the brilliant Shoryu ramen.

Shoryu ramen

Shoryu ramen

To celebrate their opening, they were offering a 3-day 50% discount. So I went twice. Then they extended their offer to the end of April so I squeezed in a third trip ( – such a chore being a food blogger, I know). So I have sampled THREE dishes for you all.

Bones! Pork bones!

Bones! Pork bones!

Eating alone is standard at ramen places in Japan. I ate at Shoryu Ramen alone the second time. And ended up swapping food stories with a very nice lady ^_^

Eating alone is standard at ramen places in Japan. I ate at Shoryu Ramen alone the second time. And ended up swapping food stories with a very nice lady ^_^

Snack on some lightly pickled cabbage whilst you wait

Snack on some lightly pickled cabbage whilst you wait

Don't put your bag on the floor. Keep it tidily in a basket. It even fits my monster-sized bag.

Don’t put your bag on the floor. Keep it tidily in a basket. It even fits my monster-sized bag.

First of all, Shoryu looks like a Japanese restaurant. It has drapes over the door, the low tables, baskets for your belongings and that elegant modernism that makes Japanese-design generally revered. Having spent a lot of time in Japan, I was instantly in love. Plus there are actually Japanese people working there. Shouting in Japanese. Oh I was so happy.

Secondly, I must make a terrible confession. I have spent over 14 months of my life in Japan. And I’ve hardly ever eaten ramen. I couldn’t see what all the fuss was about. Noodles in soup? How exciting could that be? Turns out I was just unlucky in my choices. Because now I’ve had Shoryu Ramen, I want to eat ramen until slops out of my ears. Almost.

Shoryu serve ramen in tonkotsu broth – broth made from boiling up pork bones. The menu runs several variations on the theme. I tried their signature Shoryu Ganso Tonkotsu (£9.50)  – a tonkotsu and miso broth with added spinach and garlic. Your menu will tell you: “All tonkotsu ramen comes in a rich tonkotsu pork broth with bbq pork, nitamago egg, kikurage mushrooms, beansprouts, spring onion, sesame, ginger & nori unless stated.” So expect all the works. Tender slices of pork, delicious mushrooms, the slightly sweet hard-boiled egg. Oh yes.

Shoryu Ganso Tonkotsu - their signature dish

Shoryu Ganso Tonkotsu – their signature dish

For me, this ramen hit the spot. The broth was rich and warming without being too heavy or oily. The sesame and garlic were fantastic. It was essentially a evolutionary flavour party and had me draining my bowl dry.

It’s traditional to eat ramen by slurping the noodles in a way that would be considered horrendously impolite in the UK. I’ve never managed the trick as I end up sucking the noodles too quickly so they whip upwards and splatter broth across my forehead. But by all means, give it a try.

Dracula Tonkotsu - think garlic overload!

Dracula Tonkotsu – think garlic overload!

On my second visit I risked the Dracula Tonkotsu (£11.50), described as “deep roasted tones from caramelised black garlic mayu, balsamic vinegar and garlic chips”. Mayu is apparently a type of garlic oil, and yes, this was garlicky! If you love garlic, then this is definitely for you. Please realise that you will be antisocial for two days afterwards (I exaggerate not). I found the garlic chips a bit bitter and just a tad too much, but the flavour of the broth was again spot on.

Karaka Tantan Tonkotsu - spicy but addictive!

Karaka Tantan Tonkotsu – spicy but addictive!

Third time round, I tackled Karaka Tantan Tonkotsu (

£9.90) – “

tonkotsu with a twist, rich and spicy fried minced pork in white miso & garlic with added lemon, garlic and chiu chow chilli oil”. This is actually spicy –  not mouth-scorchingly so, but it has a real pleasant kick. The chilli flavour is the slightly sour spice like in Korean kimchi but a lot milder, and, although my tongue initially protested, within a few mouthfuls it gave in and begged for more. Seriously addictive. For anyone who likes spice, I highly recommend this dish. It comes without the barbecue pork but spicy minced pork on top – very tasty but I thought the portion could have been a little more generous.

Padron peppers

Padron peppers

My friend Sparrow was dining with me, and in a very un-Sparrow-like manner, he was super hungry and ordered Shishito (

£6.00) –

fried padron peppers with hakata yuzu and british sea salt – and we shared some Gyoza Dumplings (5 pieces / £5). The peppers were a little underwhelming – too plain for my liking – but the gyoza were fabulous. Shoryu also do some Hirata Buns (the steamed white soft dough with tasty fillings like belly pork sandwiched in the middle) but sadly they didn’t have them the day I was there. If anyone has tried them, do let me know your opinion!

Pork gyoza with soy, ginger and spring onions

Pork gyoza with soy, ginger and spring onions

YUM

YUM

Shoryu Ramen 5/5 – Just so good. Don’t waste a single drop of that broth.

Food 5/5 – I can’t believe my scepticism in Japan has seen me reduced to this ramen-loving blabbering idiot. Shoryu have converted me.
Value 3/5 – So in Japan, ramen are cheap. Seriously cheap. £5 a bowl cheap. But the thing is that Shoryu ramen are so good…so if you pretend that you don’t know about the true cost of ramen, and only know the London cost of ramen, then it’s fine 😉 Plus they have the 10%-off offer at the moment!
Atmosphere  4/5 – You’re crammed in but there’s happy slurping all round.
Service 5/5 – Prompt and efficient. I love the older Japanese guy who calls out Japanese greetings. Makes me miss Japan.

Website: http://www.shoryuramen.com/
Where: 3 Denman Street London W1D 7HA (30 seconds from Piccadilly Circus)
When: Mon – Fri 11:45-15:00 / 17:00-00:00; Sat 11:45-00:00; Sun & Bank Holidays 11:45-21:30

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