Ramen food from Fukuoka comes to the City
People that had an irrational hatred of the City would have found their rationale in Broadgate Circle. The original space was a rather dire paean to 80s architecture in which the main drinking spot was known by locals as the ‘horny and shallow’ – which probably says all you need to know about the clientele and vibe of the area. Roll on 2015 and the circle has caught up with the rest of East London and undergone a regeneration. The aforementioned bar is no longer, and the whole area has become the City’s take on a food hub, with likes of Alan Yau, Ed and Tom Martin, Jose Pizaro and the Franco Manca gang have all set up camp there.
As has the City debutante Shoryu Ramen. This is the fourth restaurant for owner and founder Tak Tokumine - a native of Fukuoka city and along with Executive Chef Kanji Furukawa is dedicated to championing his hometown’s local speciality.
Which basically is noodle soup cooked in pork stock. Of course, they might argue that it’s a bit more than that, but fundamentally a slow cooked stock that incorporates elements such as pork collagen, fat and marrow, is combined with a motodare – a concentrate using soy and spices from Japan – to make the base for the soup. The rest of the soup consists of ‘thin’ noodles cooked as you like – soft, medium, hard and er … very hard – and vegetables.
My friend and I were famished and pork stock soup with hard noodles didn’t sound like enough so asked for some starter suggestions. Shoryu buns, have the consistency and texture of Cantonese char siu buns (my description) and are about the size of a Big Mac (the waiter’s description). While it sounded large for a starter we decided to try the chicken and prawn version. First, they are huge and a meal in themselves. Second, they were delicious – the delicately steamed bun with gently deep fried chicken was divine.
Of course Shoryu Ramen is a lot more than simply a soup. The pork stock is full of deep flavours and creamy in texture; the ample noodles cooked Italian al dente; the eggs in my Kotteri Hakata Tonkotsu version gave that requisite rich protein hit. It was delicious.
We went against our better judgment and opted for desserts. The Matcha Azuki (green tea and red bean) Rolled Cake tasted how it sounds. Whilst not unpleasant, it wasn’t the best finish for a meal. My friend’s matcha ice cream was quite bitter bordering on unpleasant.
The restaurant is well lit in that uniquely Japanese way but was vibrant and buzzing and full to the rafters with what seemed like the City’s entire non-banking population. The waiting staff were fast, efficient, and very charming.
I’ve had a thing for Japanese food for the last few years, and Shoryu Ramen is as good a version as any that’s on the market right now. If you’re looking for a City spot that is not full of bankers, this is the place. But make sure you’re very hungry.
On a rating from * to *****
Wining and dining ***
Boozing and schmoozing **1/2
Dancing and partying **1/2
'Broadgate Circle are putting together a 'Winter at Broadgate' initiative this year. There will be an ice rink, 25ft Christmas tree, pop-up market, and the circle will be transformed into a spectacular winter terrace, and all of the restaurants will be serving festive fare. It's beginning to taste a lot like Christmas .... '
Shoryu Ramen Liverpool Street
33 Broadgate Circle London EC2M 2QS