On a wet and windy Friday night, the Hog and I were out in town and decided that a hot bowl of ramen would warm us up nicely.
I went to Bone Daddies a few weeks ago and although their ramen was good, I knew the queue would be ridiculous. Instead, we headed to Shoryu, hoping that we wouldn’t have to stand around outside in the rain. I’m pleased to say that our lucky streak continued as we arrived just in time to bag the the last empty table.
When we sat down, we noticed that 95% of the customers were Asian, which can only be a good sign. We were handed menus and set out to decipher all the different ramen dishes. There is certainly a lot of variety! However, as we were interested in sampling a range of side dishes, we decided to have one bowl to share between us.
In the end, we settled on the house signature ramen, Shoryu Ganso Tonkotsu. We also ordered karage chicken, salmon sashimi, gyoza and the Hirata spicy pork belly buns special, as there was no soft shell crab available.
The food arrived rather haphazardly and in no particular order. The karage chicken was crispy and not at all greasy. It came with some citrusy Japanese mayo on the side which was tasty and creamy but in rather short supply. The gyoza looked great and the texture of the skins was spot-on and not rubbery as is often the case. On the downside, the filling lacked any bite (read mushy) and was quite bland. It was also served with chilli oil which unfortunately didn’t really add anything to the dish.
Then the ramen came and the meal was back on track! The broth was milky, rich and soothing, the flavours were well balanced and it wasn’t overly salty. The ramen still had good bite to it and came with an assortment of tasty accompaniments. The pork slices had the right amount of fat on them and the kikurage mushrooms and beansprouts added a much needed crunch. The egg was still lovely and runny but we felt that half an egg was quite stingy.
The Hirata buns sounded like a great special and we were looking forward to trying them. However, we felt that they were spoiled by the overly salty chilli sauce, it really overpowered everything. Unfortunately the buns could’ve been better too, they thick, doughy and dense.
At this point, we still had half a bowl of ramen left and a waiter inexplicably tried to take it away. We told him it wasn’t finished and he put it down. Two seconds later, a different waiter also gestured to take it away and we refused again. Ok, this is not a place to linger, but we felt that this aggressive table turning was totally unnecessary. We still had other unfinished items on the table and were waiting for other dishes to arrive, so this shouldn’t have happened. It was a shame because the service was friendly, so perhaps this was just them being over-eager?
Unfortunately, the salmon sashimi never arrived, so we cancelled the order. It probably sounds like we had a shocker here, but if you just want a quick bowl of delicious ramen at a very reasonable price, I’d recommend it in an instant. All other sins against us are forgiven for that steaming bowl of goodness!
This place obviously attracts ramen aficionados, as the man sat next to the Hog declared that he rated Tonkotsu’s ramen 7 out of 10. Sadly, we left before he gave his views on Shoryu’s finest, but I’d give it a solid 9 (the Hog says 8).
As we left, we saw a sizable queue of people waiting in the rain. As to why you would bother in such bad weather, I really couldn’t fathom. In saying that, we also passed Pizza Hut which had (inexplicably) an even bigger line.
If you’re keen to try Shoryu’s ramen, they will also have a pop-up on Denman Street in Soho from April 8th.
Dinner for two inc drinks and service: £35
Address: 9 Regent St, London, SW1Y 4LR