Shoryu, new ramen "brasserie" in Piccadilly [London]
Mr Foodie 94 and I stood in line for about 15 minutes to score lunch for 50% off at the soft launch of Shoryu, the new ramen "brasserie" at 9 Regent St. It's affiliated with Japan Centre in some way. It specializes in tonkotsu, or ramen in a whitish pork-bone broth. I had yuzu tonkotsu, he had wasabi; both were tasty, with rich stocks brightened by the flavours we'd chosen, delicious pork, nori, beanspouts, & beni-shoga (red pickled ginger). I would have liked some gyoza to go with, but I think they're keeping a pared-down lunch menu; dinner diners will have more options. I haven't tried Bone Daddies yet, but I have tried Ittenbari nearby, which I also like for the miso ramen and lovely gyoza. Ramen renaissance - now we need some soba places like Soba-ya and Cocoron in NYC!
Just got back from a trip to Japan, including a visit to Fukuoka, home of Hakata ramen, the style that Shoryu emulate.
I found that their broth is similar in style, but the noodles we had in the ramen we tried were much thinner, and the tradition was to serve them a bit harder, al dente, as the Italians would say.
Out of all the places I've tried in London I find the noodles at Ittenbari most like the ones I encountered in Japan, in that they are bit chewier than either Bone Daddies or Tonkotsu.
BTW the worst ramen I had in Japan was in Fukuoka. It was quick stop off while I changed trains for Nagaski and picked a place where you get tokens from a machine and take to the counter. In my experience never a sign of quality ramen.
We went to Shoryu in Piccadilly for lunch this week. What a disappointment! The wasabi broth was interesting (in a good way), but the noodles were horrible -- overcooked and so gluey. Tonkatsu, on the other hand, had perfectly cooked noodles but a slightly bland broth. Still, I'd pick Tonkatsu over Shoryu any day. Terrible!
Went to the newer Soho branch recently. The tonkotsu ramen was ok, nothing bad but nothing to write home about. Broth was fairly fatty, creamy and rich, but could have had a bit more porky flavour. Chashu was good -- tender and flavoursome. Noodles had a bit of stiffness to them, which I liked, but a big bunch of them had clumped together, to the detriment of the otherwise good texture.
The gyoza were very good - well seasoned fillings, thin skins with a nice touch of crispiness on the surface and just the right touch of resilience. Somewhat oily, but good counterpoints from finely chopped green onion, minced ginger and a touch of yuzu with the dipping sauce.
I went Oct 22 and had the Dracula Tonkotsu & returned Oct 25 and had the Karaka Tantan Tonkotsu. I thought both were spectacular and full-flavored - especially the latter, which couldn't have been any porkier without it squealing :). My noodles were nice both times (1st time kinky/curly, 2nd time more straight/spaghetti-like) but I preferred the second of the 2 a wee bit. Perhaps, like anything, it's a particular batch of broth since each is inherently different no matter how hard one tries for consistency. I hope i keep hitting the good days!!
Went back to Shoryu again last night.
First time I visited was fairly early on after it opened, though not soft opening early and it was also at invitation of the PR and owner. I really enjoyed it but felt the char sui (BBQ pork) was too lean a cut and therefore lacking in flavour and moistness and the egg was bland and also overcooked. Rest was great.
I knew they changed the pork to belly a few weeks ago, and it was definitely a huge improvement. Likewise the nitamago was much better, though would love both halves if I'm being picky.
An expanded menu too, this time we had wakame salad (which I loved both times) karaage chicken (very good), grilled peppers and gyozu and for desserts we had matcha ice cream, matcha chestnut tart, matcha spongecake and doryaki.
Great selection of drinks, I particularly find their matcha above average.
I liked Bone Daddies when I went, but found the stools uncomfortable not to mention really crammed in. Flavours were excellent but for my taste, broth was too thick and oily for soaking all the other ingredients. Liked it a lot but... for me I think Shoryu is a better fit.
Competently turned out bowl of noodles - I had the Shoryu Tonkotsu.
The broth was light & fine - is it a trend in London's ramen restaurants for the kitchen to add an inordinate amount of pickled ginger already into the noodles before serving to the guests? Anyway, it didn't really matter too much to me as I love pickled ginger.
Like the previous poster, I also found the noodles slightly too hard for me & left most behind, finshing everything else in the bowl.
I like the decor of the place though - simple & bright. Most ramen place outside Japan inexplicably tried to make their places look "Japanese" in a kitsch way, whereas in Japan, ramen places usually have "Chinese"-like touches here & there in their decor as Japanese normally associate ramen with its Chinese origins.
9 Regent Street
I went last Saturday and had the Hakata Tonkotsu. I thought the broth was too salty and it didn't have the lip-sticking quality which is indicative of the gelatin content from the pork bone. It did have a good flavour, though perhaps a bit too chicken-y and not quite porky enough. There was a massive portion of noodles which hadn't been quite separated enough as they were still clumped together near the bottom of the bowl. They also appeared to be the wrong type of noodles, too thick and curly.
The topping of cha siu was quite lean and tough. I added a soft-boiled egg for £1.50 - the yolk wasn't runny, but it was soft enough and was seasoned quite well.
I sound quite critical about the noodles, don't I? For the soft launch prices, ~£6 was a pretty good price to pay for a decent bowl of noodles. I'm not sure I'd return, though. I think the broth at Tonkotsu is much richer, but isn't seasoned enough (I know, I'm picky), but the noodles and toppings there are executed in a much better way.
I can't quite compare Ittenbari to either of these places as I've only had the shio (salt) ramen. As a bowl of noodles, I much prefer Ittenbari to either Tonkotsu or Shoryu but I think I'm biased towards clear broths. I'd be interested in hearing about Bone Daddies if you get a chance to go!