She says: Oishiiii!! The topic of ramen, let alone ‘best ramen’ in London is a rather contentious one. It’s a rather subjective food subject, with opinions varying far and wide. Some even preferring to sit on the fence. We disagreed over Bone Daddies when it launched (I liked the 20 hour cooked tonkotsu ramen and slices of pork that came with.. he found the portion size underwhelming). But great consensus was reached when we both separately tried Shoryu at their first Regent St location with other friends. When the ‘Denman Street’ location started as a pop-up, I insisted that we calibrate and try the ramen again together as a team…
He says: I really enjoy the ramen at Shoryu. It balances the three points of a good ramen, the ramen triangles – noodles, broth and toppings. The bbq pork is decent. The rich tonkotsu broth of their signature ramen bowl is rich and flavourful and the noodles are never too soft (so good that you can order extra noodles too). The amount of food you get is great for the price that you are paying.
We visited Shoryu Soho back in May 2013 when it was just a small popup restaurant. Back then we had to wear jackets as it was still pretty cold in London so a bowl of ramen was the best thing to order. Fast forward a few months and Shoryu Soho finally opens as a proper restaurant. It is double the size of the original popup restaurant, this is necessary as it is fitting to feed the masses that queue up for it. Now with the hot summer weather in London, we ask is “a bowl of ramen still the best thing to order”?
The food: Besides the ramen, there are some nice starters to choose from. A popular choice are the Hirata buns (you get two). You can choose a filling of belly pork, chicken, salmon or prawn tempura inside steamed buns. The filling could have included one more slice of pork to make it even more substantial. The buns themselves could be a little thicker and fluffier.
There are also have various kinds of yakitori, skewered meat, but we didn’t get a chance to try it yet, next time ;)
The main reason there is a huge following for Shoryu, their tonkotsu ramen. Tonkotsu ramen broth is made from pork bone and fat cooked for hours, the result is a broth that is almost milky. We love this broth and always end up sipping this to the very end. The ramen itself comes with an egg, mushroom, beansprouts, onions and a sheet of nori. You can get the ‘Dracula’ ramen which has more garlic or the ‘Peri Peri’ which is the spicy version of this bowl.
If the thought of the pork bone broth is too rich for you, then there are ramens with different kinds of broths. There is the Tokyo Shoyu ramen with chumen noodles (more soba like in texture) and a soya pork broth (below) or the Sapporo Miso ramen which has a miso pork broth. Compare and contrast the colour of the broth versus the pork based soup!
But sipping hot soups in the current British summer may not be your cup of tea. Shoryu also offers cold noodles as well. We decided to try a mix of hot and cold, so we ordered the Cool Hiyashi Tanan. It’s a cold dipping ramen where you dip the ramen and it’s ingredients into a warm chilled spicy minced pork dipping sauce and comes served with bbq pork and egg, bamboo shoots and some vegetables including broccolini, cucumber and tomato. The dipping sauce tasted a little bit like a sweet sesame & peanut butter chilli. Personally speaking, we still love the hot ramen soup. There is something special about slurping warm pork broth!
The verdict: With so many kinds of ramens to try for a tenner (between £9.90 – £11.90) and decent portion sizes (to satisfy the stomachs of both the male and female population) it is easy to see why there are such queues. Conveniently located on Denman St, a hop, skip and a jump away from Piccadilly Circus tube station, Shoryu’s Soho branch is a perfect place to start the night and line the stomach before a few drinks in Soho (we love the nearby Archer St Cocktail club). To avoid queues try to get there early or be prepared to brave the crowds (advisable to go in small groups). Remember no reservations.
Disclaimer: love2feed were invited to eat as guests of Shoryu Soho but we came here many times before on our own.