Restaurant Review: Shoryu Ramen, Covent Garden in London
Complete with a traditional Japanese headband and a cheeky grin we are welcomed into Shoryu Covent Garden quickly followed by the bang of their leather drum for our arrival; before we’d even been seated we knew this was going to be fun. Light and energetic with a team who made us feel instantly at ease, it is very easy to spend a number of hours at Shoryu Covent Garden – and that’s exactly what we did. Essentially a ramen joint, Shoryu’s menu is mainly focused around Hakata tonkotsu ramen from the south of Japan which is made in a style with a thick, rich, white pork soup and thin, straight ramen noodles.
We start with cocktails – a firm favourite, Lycee Martinis. Scanning the paper menu we look down, away from the ramen and to the sides and sharing dishes which caught our main focus and attention. In an aim to share and try a variety of Shoryu’s other offerings we were assisted in ordering their bbq pork belly and tiger prawn tempura shoryu buns (I can confirm they were as good as they sound), and some fresh chunks of salmon sashimi. Next up, the fun continued as we are recommended their pork dumplings, presented in a sizzling frying pan before delving back in with their special wagu beef buns. For a more authentic touch away from our cocktails and glasses of wine, the enthusiastic manager brought over his favourite sake (Japanese fermented rise wine) as a palate cleanser but with more of a kick than we’re used to. There is definitely more to Shoyu than its ramen.
From the team behind Japan Centre, Shoryu Ramen first launched back in November 2012 and since has been recommended in the 2014 and 15 Michelin Guide. Proudly dishing out their niche Hakata tonkotsu ramen recipe that has been designed by Executive Chef Kanji Furukawa who was born and raised in Hakata, Shoryu provide the UK with highly crafted and genuine tonkotsu that is rarely found outside Japan. Adding to the southern Japanese authenticity, Shoryu’s owner Tak Tokumine is also a native of Fukuoka city and along with Kanji is dedicated to championing his hometown’s local speciality.
Tonkotsu is a combination of 12-hour rich pork broth ramen topped with char siu barbecue pork belly, nitamago egg, kikurage mushrooms, spring onion, sesame, ginger, nori seaweed. This is their basis and a number of signatures that Shoryu have developed building on this classic. Their Shoryu Ganso Tonkotsu is one of these signature ramen which is served simply with added fried shallots whilst another more indulgent features truffles. A labour of love for this speciality of ramen, each pan they say takes over 12 hours of cooking to create the rich, creamy tonkotsu pork stock. Traditionally the stock is then combined with ‘motodare’, a concentrated base to create the final soup. Their motodare is made only using the best soy and spices from Japan.
I say there is definitely more to Shoryu than its ramen but it is definitely something I need to return for. With locations across London including Carnaby Street, Liverpool Street, Regent Street, Soho and Covent Garden, Shoryu is easy to get to whatever side of the city. It’s smart, light and refreshing and without the scary menu. A guaranteed smile, some ramen noodles, gyoza, sashimi, their fantastic buns or something more… Shoryu lets you choose, mix and match with some gentle encouragement to try something you may not have selected for yourself, all with a pinch of salt…or in this case wasabi.
Address: 35 Great Queen Street WC2B 5AA, www.shoryuramen.com/stores/75-covent-garden