Tempura-battered deep-fried sprouts, where have you been all my life?
This starter is, as the kids say, a total game-changer, it kicks things up a notch, it’s awesome, it’s Something You Need To Slam Into Your Face Right Now.
Actually, they are rather good. The essential sweetness of the sprout coming through and the texture crisp. Dunked into the curry powder dipping salt they get even better.
I could eat a lot of these, although to do so might have deleterious effects on my digestion. Still four or so are fine I think. Well perhaps just one more
This is the starter on Shoryu Ramen’s Christmas Menu at £25 for three courses, a drink and a gift.
The other starter options are a BBQ pork bao bun – char siu pork belly with Japanese mayo in one of those steamed buns that everyone was going nuts for last week.
S has it, declares it about average, no complaints but no best in show award either.
Vegetarians get a second bite of the cherry with the third starter option of a pumpkin croquette bun with hirata sauce and Japanese mayo, which sounds alright. I’d give it a go next time.
But of course, it’s the ramen that people ram Shoryu for, the men getting their beards all wet and the women doing their best to not get too messy.
But what can you do to make a Xmas Ramen? Stick some turkey in it? Cover it in holly? Dust it in snow?
Well they have taken their signature Shoryu Ganso Tonkatsu and added fried shallots. I’m not sure how festive that is, so I’ll pass on that.
Miso Wafu Chicken sounds fun, a lot going into it including chicken karaage which you don’t need me to tell you is known as’Japanese KFC’.
S has that while I keep my ongoing veggie drive going with the Spicy Vegetarian and hold down my jokes about the name.
You just can’t be too careful nowadays, people will dob you in to the social media lynch mob in a second.
It’s very good, very spicy too so no need to complain to the Trades Description people. It’s a three serviette job on the nose, in fact.
The broth is particularly excellent, I don’t miss the pork fat at all; to be honest I always felt all the yelling about ‘filthy’ pork fat to be a little gross anyway.
Lots of white miso in it, one of those eggs they so often float in a ramen, seaweed and broccoli and plenty of soft, chewy noodles. We eat fast and without talking, as is the Japanese ramen way.
S finishes first but he hasn’t eaten it all,’I like it, but I always get a bit bored with ramen halfway down,’ he says, and I know what he means, ramen can run on a bit too long.
He wanted a bit of chili heat too, but as I point out he could have added that from the bottle on the table so it’s no one’s fault but his.
I go the full distance with mine and then sit back with a bit of a dewy brow and a feeling of impending doom. This passes quickly enough so we have dessert – some matcha cheesecake and mochi ice cream.
I’m never sure if I really like mochi ice cream, that rather leathery shell of sticky rice around the ice cream is always a bit odd.
Still I like these well enough and get a brain freeze when I try and bite off too much.I do definitely like the matcha cheesecake, it’s wonderfully creamy and yet solid.
The matcha (green tea) is a subtle aftertaste.We drank off the included drinks quite early, there wasn’t much to them in volume – a sparkling sake and a quite tasty Ginzu snowflake, which apparently has nothing to do with suppressing debate in seats of learning.
It’s all a fair price, £25, and ideal if you’re eating as a group because meat eaters and vegetarians get what they want and no one has to argue about the bill later.
If you’re out and about and wearing your Santa hat, then what could be more festive?
Some images’gifted’ by Shoryu website. Offer runs until December 30 2018