By Jo Cooksey
An Asian Love Affair
We love Asian food here at Taste Today. It is often our comfort food of choice. From Chinese to Vietnamese and Thai to Japanese, we love it all. Manchester has a great choice of Far Eastern restaurants catering to our cravings but until recently we hadn’t been to Shoryu Ramen and it’s now our new favourite.
The first Shoryu Ramen restaurant opened in London in 2012, with Manchester opening in 2016. Their offering is based around a Japanese regional dish of Hakata tonkotsu ramen noodle. The pork stock that forms the basis takes over 12 hours to make, ensuing a rich and creamy broth, to which a soy and spice paste are added. The noodles used are made also made to special recipe and each portion is cooked to the customer’s own requirements; be that soft, al dente or hard. Each basic Ramen dish contains the soup, the noodles, char siu pork, mushrooms, a soft-boiled nitamago egg, ginger, nori seaweed, spring onions and sesame seeds. After that you can customize your bowl with various additional ingredients, such as seafood, chicken. There are even two curry versions.
We bobbed along on a Thursday teatime and the place was heaving. It isn’t a huge venue and the seating combines small tables, counter top and large tables where you could share your space with a group of friends or strangers. We were seated at a table for two by Nelson, one of two servers who looked after us that evening. Very well I may say. He explained the restaurant concept, how the menu works and made some recommendations for drinks and dishes to try.
Whilst we decided what to eat our other server, Yuubi bought us two speciality beers. Kirin Frozen is served with a -5 degrees frozen whipped froth. A beer version of Mr Whippy’s. It was ice cold and obviously very refreshing. We chose a couple of sides; two Shoryu bao buns filled with char siu pork belly, which was gorgeously melt in the mouth tender and sashimi salmon which was so, so fresh and delicate.
The stars of the show were the ramen dishes. My dinner companion chose Karaka Tan Tan Tonkotsu, which has the addition of richly spiced pork mince, that has been marinated in white miso, garlic and chilli oil, instead of the usual pork belly. She loved it, declaring the level of spicing being spot on for her pallet and her noodles cooked perfectly. My choice was one of the curry ramens, served with deep fried Goosnargh chicken karaage, bamboo shoots and a Naruto fish cake. The fish cake is made from surimi, which is the stuff crab sticks are made from. It had a very pretty pink swirl on its white surface and resembles a sweet more than what we would know as a fish cake. The whole dish was extremely tasty and I did my best to slurp it all down but ramen is always deceptively filling. Both my friend and I agreed that this was the best and most authentic ramen we have had in Manchester to date. Praise indeed when you consider that Wagamama has been my go to ramen comfort food stop for goodness knows how many years.
Would we go back? Absolutely, in an instant. Great service, buzzy atmosphere and knowledgeable, polite staff. Plus, I don’t know about you, but I always feel quite righteous eating ramen as I feel, rightly or wrongly that it’s a healthy choice. A trip to Shoryu Ramen is a genuine Japanese experience, that will have you looking in to the cost of flights to Tokyo. I did.
We were guest of Shoryu Ramen and as always, the review and opinions are our own and unbiased.