Sunday, 28 April 2013

Shoryu, Take 2: where I thought love could be better the second time around

Some people say love is better the second time around. I loved my first experience at Shoryu so much I was cocksure the second time would be nothing short of amazing. 

I mean. How can you not love a ramen bar with super cute - and proper - tea pots?

Exactly.

K joined the ramen posse and the conversation flowed like tonkotsu broth: smooth, silky and punched with lots of flavour.
The married ladies
The not so married ladies

I really miss Japanese street food so I ordered chikuwa fishcakes (£4) to start. Chikuwa is a traditional Japanese snack made of mixed minced seafood and shaped like a tube. The texture and colour, when cooked right, is similar to grilled cuttlefish. Shoryu's fishcakes are panko-crusted and they looked so pretty lined up on the plate.

I didn't realise they were actually cocoons of cheese (of course the menu said 'chikuwa-cheese fishcake' but I was too lazy to bother reading the description) and only found out when I had my first bite. K's face popped in surprise as the cheese popped out and fell onto my napkin. Oops.
I enjoyed it for all the right reasons. It was perfectly crunchy, delightfully chewy, extremely cheesy. It may taste a bit salty for some, though.

We also got the soft-shell crab tempura (£6). Of course.
Hello love, we meet again.
I wanted to be a bit adventurous with the ramen and decided to order something I probably wouldn't have picked so I asked for the tori kara-age men (£9.90) with normal hosomen noodles (you can choose gluten-free rice noodles with this dish). I was super looking forward to my ramen fix - it was all I could think about the whole day - so I immediately dug in.  
Toppings:
nitamago (egg), kikurage (wood-ear mushroom), kelp,naruto (fish cake)
nori, spring onions, mushrooms, spring onions, fried chicken, sesame seeds 
I was a wee bit disappointed with the shiitake konbu soy-based broth, if I'm being honest. Fair enough, it was tasty but I thought there was something amiss. It wasn't bland but I had to douse it with some sesame and chili oil and vinegar to make it 100% perfect. 

But hey... with cute little toppings like this slice of naruto, it's really difficult for the dish to be unforgivable.

And the hosomen noodles are still still the bouncy-springy-chewy type of delicious.

Overall, everyone was pretty pleased.

So... was Shoryu-love better the second time around? Well, it's definitely different. It's a tiiiiny bit disappointing (for my ramen) but like anything you give second chances to, there was a fondness brought about by familiarity and there was still something new and exciting to try. Someone told me love is a choice and perhaps in a way this relates to that night. The experience boiled down to my choices and truth be told, I still enjoyed the overall dining experience. 

I still think Shoryu has the best ramen in town.

9 Regent Street, London, SW1Y | No reservations, walk-in only
VISIT THE POP UP STORE ON 3 DENMAN STREET, LONDON W1D 7HA AND ENJOY 50% OFF THE RAMEN MENU
Average spend: £10pp for ramen, £20 with sides, dessert and drinks (I had a recommended sake)
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