In which I had ramen in London
Saturday, 8 December 2012
Missing Japan most terribly, I dragged Hiro along to the soft-openening of Shoryu Ramen on Regent Street for a couple-a-bowls of half priced ramen.
The place was packed to the rafters when we got there and reassuringly, many of the noodle seekers were Japanese.
I ordered my favourite (and benchmark) variation, miso ramen.
Hiro ordered the house speciality, Hakata tonkotsu ramen.
Our bowls eventually arrived, steaming hot with a nice selection of toppings. Hiro's noodles were cooked well with a good al dente bite and a really good soup stock. My noodles were slightly over done but not enough to shed tears over. My miso stock lacked the depth that I have grown accustomed to in Japan but it was tasty nonetheless.
Shoryu ramen was buzzing on the Saturday we visited. A rather unsettling jazz melody was cavorting in the background and I felt that this lent itself very well to the rather unsettled looking staff. Many of whom lingered by the kitchen avoiding eye contact with customers.
The great disappointment cropped up when Hiro ordered a kaedama. (Kaedama is an extra helping of plain noodles to be added to the remainder soup stock in your bowl). The kaedama took over 20 minutes to arrive and when it finally did, Hiro's soup stock was cold! Gah! Perhaps this is a cultural ramen issue. After all ramen is a not a dish that Japanese linger over. Traditionally ramen restaurants are counter-top eateries. You eat (noisily) and then you leave. Ramen is eaten at such speed that the soup stock is often still hot even when the noodles are gone so kaedama is a nice way to get a bit extra.
Shoryu ramen's Hakata Tonkotsu is the best ramen that we have tried in London thus far and once their staff settle in I am sure it will continue to do really well. While it may not provide an authentic Japanese eating experience, it is a good place to satisfy a noodle craving whilst in the West End.
UPDATE: I have just heard that Shoryu Ramen are now selling noodles to take home and make your own ramen! I for one am really happy to hear this!!
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