The first thing I ate after getting off the plane from a 9 month stint in South America, was a platter of Japan Centre sushi lovingly bought to the airport by my sister. I’d been living off chicken feet broth and maize for far too long so she predicted that fresh, delicate sushi and some blow your mind wasabi would kick my appetite back into gear. She was right and thanks to that sushi, I’ve been in love with the Japan Centre ever since.
I had high hopes for Shoryu Ramen Soho, the second ramen joint in the city that’s backed by the Japan Centre. The restaurant fits perfectly into it’s surroundings by successfully pairing trendy exposed brick with modern Japanese artwork and the buzz from the open-plan ramen kitchen in the main dining area makes for a really inviting place to hang out. The menu is split into hot and cold ramen with a speciality of Tonkotsu, sides and yakatori with numerous sakes on offer to wash it all down with. Me and my friend each ordered a ramen and a side, her going for their signature dish of Shoryu Ganso Tonkotsu (£10, bottom photo) which brings together ramen, tonkotsu, miso broth and spinach and me the Yuzu Tonkotsu (£10.90, top photo), a classic ramen tonkotsu served with chilli and yuzu chutney. I sometimes struggle with the extreme milkiness and richness of tonkotsu broth so really enjoyed yuzu as the ingredient to cut through it with citrus and spice. Toppings of seaweed and beansprouts were generous in both and the spinach on the Ganso was fresh and well cooked but the nitamago egg on each was overdone, the noodles were not that memorable and the pork was too fatty to enjoy. Our sides were Chicken Kara Age (£5), crispy deep fried chicken flavoured with soy, garlic and ginger and a portion of Hirata Buns with belly pork (£6). The portion of lightly fried chicken was very generous but quite bland. It really needed its accompanying spicy sauce to liven it up but even with that it didn’t come close to the similar but far better dish I had at Bone Daddies. The hirata bun itself was nice and bouncy but the filling of pork belly was so small that it filled less than half of the bun. Not that I minded though as the meat was so fatty and smothered in mayonnaise that it rendered it pretty inedible. I know the origin is probably completely different, but I couldn’t help but wish I was chomping on a Yum Bun instead.
I left feeling disappointed in Shoryu and wishing that I’d had the superior options of each dish mentioned. Although I won’t rush back, this won’t kick my Japan Centre habits and I look forward to seeing what else the team have planned for London.
I was a guest of Shoryu Ramen.