35 Great Queen Street, London, WC2B 5AA www.shoryuramen.com
Shoryu Ramen has launched an exclusive bottomless brunch menu in its Covent Garden branch that is available to enjoy on Sundays.
The menu is simple Ã¢â‚¬â€œ two starters, four sides, bottomless ramen and dessert, and the dishes arrive in a continuous stream.
First came two bowls of edamame and Shoryu buns. The char siu barbecue bun was a very tasty mouthful Ã¢â‚¬â€œ soft, melt in the mouth belly pork with a tangy barbecue sauce. Halloumi in a’bao’ bun is an interesting choice, not one I’ve tried before, but the contrast of the salty halloumi against the sweet sauce was truly delicious.
Then came the sides in rapid succession. Black sesame tofu was an absolute revelation. Soft, silky, smooth tofu smothered in a creamy tahini dressing. I’m not a massive fan of tofu but I thoroughly enjoyed this dish.
I didn’t quite understand the Goma Kyuri cucumber, it was essentially a line of chopped cucumber with a dressing, sesame seeds. Refreshing but unusual. The Wakame seaweed salad was a nice, light bite to accompany all the other dishes.
I love chicken karaage, and Shoryu Ramen’s example was a very good one. Crisp, lightly spiced batter surrounded soft, moist chicken. It was served with a slightly citrusy mayonnaise and a sprinkling of what I believe was Togarashi. It’s a shame it wasn’t served with a spicier dipping sauce, even a chilli mayo, but it was delicious.
The tiger prawn tempura couldn’t help but catch my attention when it arrived Ã¢â‚¬â€œ three large, crisp-looking prawns sat proudly on the plate. Sadly, the tempura batter had soaked up slightly too much oil during the frying process which left my mouth coated with a slightly greasy sheen.
The Hakata Tetsunable Gyoza was slightly disappointing and bland. It arrived in a frying pan, on a wooden chopping board full of promise but the filling wasn’t substantial enough and lacked seasoning and flavour. If you dipped them in enough soya sauce they were fine, but as it followed some tasty treats fine wasn’t really good enough.
The final side dish Ã¢â‚¬â€œ if you go as a pair, I really would recommend going hungry Ã¢â‚¬â€œ was Takoyaki. Deep fried balls were stuffed with a smooth, creamy octopus paste, topped with Japanese mayo and sprinkled with crispy bonito flakes. This is not elegant food Ã¢â‚¬â€œ bite it in half and it dribbles down your chin but its slightly too large to fit in all at once.
Once you’ve devoured your way through all of the sides, out comes the bottomless ramen. Luckily smaller that the dinner-size portions, the Shoryu Ganso Tonkotsu ramen is Shoryu Ramen’s signature ramen and a nice choice.
A pork broth is topped with barbecue pork belly, half a nitamago egg, kikurage mushrooms, spring onion, sesame, ginger and nori seaweed. However, like the last time I had ramen at Shoryu Ramen, it just lacked the depth and intense flavour that I would like from a broth that has been cooking for 12 hours. It had no pizzazz, no wow factor, if anything it was slightly anaemic and sad.
The curry ramen was slightly more flavourful Ã¢â‚¬â€œ a curry-soy pork broth served with chicken karaage, nitamago egg, nori seaweed, menma bamboo shoots, Naruto fish cake, spring onion and ginger. It wasn’t as warming as expected, that curry spices didn’t jump out of the bowl and hit you in the face, and the batter around the chicken karaage was a wasted in the broth, going limp and soggy.
I enjoyed brunch at Shoryu Ramen; it’s one of better ones I’ve had. The food was plentiful, the drinks unique and varied, ranging from prosecco to a sweeter plum wine, and the service friendly.
The only let down was the ramen itself which when you’re going to a restaurant that names itself after the star dish, even when other dishes were spectacular, you still walk away feeling a little let down.