Recently I was bestowed the honour of visiting Shoryu Ramen, the Hakata ramen noodle specialists. This season they were welcoming one of Japan’s most popular characters, Gudetama – a lazy egg-based mascot in the vein of Hello Kitty – to Oxford for the first time by launching an exclusive autumnal egg-themed pop up menu for two weeks only in Shoryu Oxford, located in the heart of the city’s Westgate Shopping Centre.
For a decent £22 I was able to relish a 3 mouth-watering course Gudetama-themed set menu plus drink with a limited edition Gudetama coaster which I got to take home. Available exclusively at Shoryu Oxford, from 1st – 14th October, diners will be able to take time out to enjoy the eggstra special decorated autumn menu: three courses plus drinks.
From the team behind Japan Centre, Shoryu Ramen was launched in November 2012 and has been recommended in the Michelin Guide 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. Shoryu Ramen specialises in Hakata tonkotsu ramen from the Hakata district of Fukuoka city on the southern island of Kyushu, Japan. Hakata tonkotsu ramen is a style of ramen made with a thick, rich, white pork soup and thin, straight ramen noodles. Apparently, the Hakata tonkotsu ramen recipe has been specially created by Executive Chef Kanji Furukawa who was born and raised in Hakata, to provide the UK with highly crafted, genuine tonkotsu rarely found outside Japan.
Their all-new set menu displayed an eggstravagant array of delicious firm favourites, including ramen topped with the Gudetama-themed authentic nitamego egg, as well a touch of decoration across all the menu items served.
Initially it began with their incredibly moreish Shoryu buns. Spoilt for choice, I was presented with char siu barbecue pork belly or pumpkin croquette, the perfect start to get the taste buds racing with an added Gudetama flag. For those veggies out there, I can reassure you that the pumpkin croquette bun is equally tantilizing, made of a pumpkin croquette, iceberg lettuce, cucumber, hirata sauce and super luxurious Japanese mayonnaise. I’m not kidding when I say it’s worth going just to sample their mayo – it’s worth it.
Moving through to mains and mulling over two mouth-watering ramens: Shoryu Ganso Tonkotsu – their signature ramen with added fried shallot and Gudetama egg. The alternative, great for veggies, vegans, non pork-eaters and gluten free-rangers, is a satisfying bowl of ramen going by the name White Natural. This is a witches brew of tonyu soy milk, miso, konbu and shitake mushroom broth, lovely yielding tofu slices, beautifully textured bamboo shoots, more of those kikurage mushrooms, spring onions and seaweed. All in all, their ramen was absolutely delicious! The broth was thick and full of flavour and the noodles were extremely tasty, fresh and flawless.
This is a witches brew of tonyu soy milk, miso, konbu and shitake mushroom broth, lovely yielding tofu slices, beautifully textured bamboo shoots, more of those kikurage mushrooms, spring onions and seaweed.
Those with a sweet-tooth also had the opportunity to indulge in the famous Mochi Ice Creams, Mini Yuzu or Mini Matcha, both served with a cute novelty Gudetama cup. They’re essentially chewy little balls with an excitingly flavoured ice-ream centre; the perfect way to round things off!
To conclude, the entire meal was a journey of new experiences, taking in numerous dishes, tastes and textures I’d never explored before. It’s safe to say I’ll be back. I loved it. For a first time visit it was an amazing experience. The food was exceptional, in every aspect from precision to detail in presentation and its wholesome yet authentic flavours.
Image credit: Gresa Rustemi