Noodle soup is ubiquitous in Asia, certainly in its eastern and southern parts, every country has their own take – and people get pretty passionate about those steaming bowls of broth too. Whether it’s the fragrant, fresh pho of Vietnam, creamy Malay laksa or of course ramen from Japan, these are staple, yet delicious, dishes that fill whole nations’ bellies.
London born Shoryu Ramen brought their noodle soups up north late last year, opening in Piccadilly, but there’s plenty more to their menu so we tucked in to some of the rest – don’t worry though there was room for ramen too.
The seasonal sake flight is a great place to start, offering a varied selection of Japanese rice wine in little taster glasses. All served chilled, but ranging from sweet and slightly sparkling, through dry, to an unfiltered sake with the taste and texture of a yoghurt drink. Certainly a bit of a eye opener if you’ve only before tried cheaper warm sakes, some fascinating diversity awaits.
Speaking of something a bit more refined our first dish was the Wagyu Beef skewers with teriyaki glaze, and it was a bit disappointing to be honest. I asked for rare but it was cooked medium, which seemed a bit of a waste for such a beautiful bit of meat.
One dish which always leaps up off the menu for me is soft shell crab and here it was impressive. Fresh and crisp with succulent flesh, everything that fried seafood should be. I also enjoyed the meaty Hakata Tetsunabe Gyoza, served in a skillet with a side of soy sauce for dipping it was all appealingly rough and ready.
We couldn’t resist trying the buns before our ramen arrived and they were both excellent – pillowy soft slightly sweetened dough packed with a crunch. I enjoyed the tiger prawn tempura but our chicken karaage bun was the one with its punchy soy and ginger marination. If only all fried chicken tasted this good.
After an impressive array of appetizers it was time for the main event, we chose the Kotteri Hakata Tonkotsu, a soup so rich and flavoursome you’ll wish it was freezing outside so you could huddle a little closer to the bowl. This fantastically indulgent creamy and meaty broth comes with double nitamago egg and a big slab of rolled pork, it’s pretty serious stuff. If you like miso soup but would rather the cubes of tofu were replaced with a fried breakfast this is the one for you- sign me up.
No less alluring but a touch lighter, the Kimchi Seafood Tonkotsu was a properly spicy little number. Packed with heaps of prawn, scallop and squid, for me this was probably the highlight of our meal. Fragrant and fiery, like a Japanese take on tom yam soup, with tender, fresh seafood. It offered something quite different from our other soup, confirming that even if you just go for the ramen there is something for everyone.
Boasting a dessert menu dominated by matcha it pays not to run out of it, but that was the case on our visit unfortunately. However, the yuzu cheesecake was nice, with quite a mature cheesy tang and crumbly base. Our Sakura and Azuki Chiffon Cake was nothing to write home about really, nice enough but a bit bland even with the accompanying cherry coulis.
It’s clear Shoryu Ramen has been quite a hit already in Manchester, the restaurant was nicely buzzing on our midweek visit, and I’ll definitely be returning myself. Whether you’re looking for unfussy food, fast, or want to explore the menu further with a proper three course meal there’s real quality on offer throughout.
1 Piccadilly, Manchester M1 1RG
020 3405 7550