Ramen in its basic form consists of noodles, meat and other toppings in a slow-cooked bone broth. Tonkotsu ramen is the most common and is topped with char siu barbecue pork belly, nitamago egg, kikurage mushrooms, spring onion, sesame, ginger, nori seaweed. Sounds good right?
The only issue with ramen is that it can be problematic if you are veggie. Even without the meaty toppings, the main ingredient in the soup is pork bones. Veggie stocks do exist, but are usually lacking in the punchy, salty, robust flavour required to hold the dish together.
So, you can imagine my hesitation when ordering a steaming bowl at Shoryu Ramen last week- I had set myself up to be disappointed- but I do assure you I was pleasantly surprised. The stock was flavourful with notes of miso, nori seaweed, shitake mushrooms and spices to give it the depth that would usually lack.
This stock is called white ramen because it adds soy milk which granted, might look a little off-putting at first as it is white, cloudy and opaque. But once you have a couple of spoonfuls and taste all the levels of flavour, you will not want to stop.
The veggie ramen comes in White Natural (topped with atsuage fried tofu, kikurage mushrooms, spring onion, menma bamboo shoots, nori seaweed) and a spicy variety (white natural with added spicy miso sauce, tender broccoli and garlic mayu). I preferred the spicy one because I love my spicy food and the fresh green broccoli was a welcome addition.
These dishes are part of a set menu too. For £21 you can enjoy some starters, Shoryu buns (their own take on Hirata buns) and a mocktail either side of these steaming bowls of veggie ramen. The Vegetarian Set Menu is only available until the 20th May but you can tuck into everything on it any time - except the Pumpkin Bun - which is a super special veggie delight.
We kicked things off with a bowl of hot edamame beans – which are always great over at Shoryu. There is nothing more satisfying than popping open the pods to get to the beans, and it is a great tactile way to start off any meal- so it put me in a good mood. These guys are covered in spicy salt too- of which I am a big fan- with a tang of garlic and a little chilli heat.
Goma Kyuri Cucumber was a feature too- which looked like a lovely green sushi roll without the rice. It was topped with some spicy salt and was a nice fresh addition. If I were you, I would have this as a little palate cleanser in-between your Bao and your ramen.
Speaking of the Shoryu Buns, I was excited to try some vegetarian-friendly in place of the usual meat. The veggie buns included grilled halloumi with mushroom and the limited edition panko-coated pumpkin croquette. The latter was the stand out star – it was sweet, crispy and creamy and went excellently well with the light as a feather Bun.
To top it all off- this veggie feast comes with a Matcha detox mocktail which can most operably be described as fresh AF- which was the perfect way to round off the meal. We left feeling fresh, clean and invigorated- and you cannot say you would feel that way after eating most four-course dinners now, can you?
Shoryu Ramen, 1 Piccadilly, Manchester M1 1RG
020 3405 7550