I had the charsui ramen, which comes with 7 roast pork slices. No more, no less – it's so Japanese I love it. It’s quite astounding that in Japan, your meal precisely resembles the picture or the model, down to the quantity of every last item. Anywhere else it might seem parsimonious, but in Japan, it is just so. You get what you see, and pay the exact price. No surprises thank you.
The broth was a good compromise between milkier, thinner broths I have come across, and the more meaty, stock broths which have more flavour but can be overly oily. Shoryu’s had plenty of flavour, but it wasn’t like sucking crackling and even with my 7 pieces of pork, the broth wasn’t too oily.
The green accompaniments help further with that balance. Throw in a boiled egg, and it really does become a full meal in a bowl. Notable here is that only one egg half is provided, as opposed to two at Bone Daddies. It wasn’t as buttery and indulgent either (the yolk is missing that golden orange hue), but was absolutely fine.
In terms of the pork itself, it was less fatty than either Tonkotsu and Bone Daddies and for me, more enjoyable.
Overall, I rated Shoryu very highly. It was quick, easy and authentic. Half of the dining room was Japanese, and a good few of the staff too. I had a pot of green tea, and momentarily escaped the bus fumes and driving rain, and returned to the Tokyo backstreets (and their rain and fumes).
If the authenticity of Shoryu is its draw card, then what of the others?
Bone Daddies is great fun, and being Australian-run perhaps isn't too honour-bound to deliver authenticity and traditionalism. And whilst rame is the speciality, the menu features more diverse items to the point of having izakaya generalism. The boozier vibe and rock music support this idea that it’s a place to enjoy and socialism, as opposed to a functional joint to grab a bowl of ramen, and scarper.
Tonkotsu? I’m not sure – I’ve never been that impressed; their ramen is all stock (oil-slicked at that), light on the accompaniments and the roast pork is all fat. I do like the space, but it's a distinct third in this most arbitrary of competitions.
More ramen is always welcome in London, as are all things Japanese in abundance. Some izakaya openings in London could be fun, I’m excited about Koya 2.0 and finally I’d love somewhere with fancy tonkatsu like Maisen in Omotesando.
Until then, my eye is on Kirazu to join the hype, become the fourth big ramen opening, and thoroughly ruin my Zelda jokes.