Shoryu Ramen Manchester, 1 Piccadilly, Manchester, M1 1RG – Visit Now
Review by Bradley Lengden: When it comes to Shoryu Ramen, the last few years haven’t just seen Manchester embrace the ramen phenomenon, the Japanese staple has quickly become one of the most prominent delicacies in the city, sparking a welcome wave of new openings putting their own unique twist on the beloved street food. Ahead of the curve, this Piccadilly Gardens spot has been serving up authentic Hakata tonkotsu ramen to hungry Mancunians since 2016, back when Shoryu chose the city for its first restaurant outside of London.
To kick things off, the saké flight. A selection of three different rice wines each progressively taking it up a notch in strength. In hindsight, this probably should have been saved for an after-dinner indulgence, though when that’s the only real gripe, it’s tough to get too disheartened.
For starters, it’s spicy takoyaki, deep-fried octopus balls, takoyaki brown sauce, bonito flakes and aonori with spicy mayo. Don’t let the ‘deep fried’ description deceive, sure, there’s plenty of satisfying crunch but these are light, moreish and tick pretty much all the boxes of a great appetiser that doesn’t feel too heavy before mains. Joining that, the BBQ pork bun, a testament to keeping things simple: char siu pork belly tucked into a fluffy bao then smothered in Hirata sauce and garlic mayo. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Genuinely flavourful dishes that pack a punch the way proper ramen should
Next, Shoryu’s party piece, two huge, hearty bowls of ramen. Ganso tonkotsu is the restaurant’s signature, a 12-hour Hakata pork broth topped with char siu bbq pork belly, nitamago burford brown egg, kikurage mushrooms, spring onion, red ginger and nori seaweed.
Hakata tonkotsu is the base for most of Shoryu’s (non-veggie) ramen dishes. Lookswise, it’s a far creamier broth than most other ramen styles. That’s all down to the lengthy cooking process which allows the collagen, fat, marrow – all that good stuff from the pork – to emulsify and form an opaqueness that isn’t seen too often outside of Japan. It all makes for this rich, intense, fragrant soup, with the flavour soaked up perfectly by the succulent slices of pork belly.
For anyone who likes the sound of all that, but wants a little more spice, the kimchi seafood tonkotsu with fiery broth is happy to oblige. Complete with squid, scallops and giant prawns it’s the perfect kickstart after a heavy weekend, long day at work, rainy day when you’ve forgotten your big coat – in fact, it’s pretty much good whenever.
Finally, the matcha cheesecake and melon pan ice cream are the perfect palate cleansers, a refreshing way to round off a meal packed with generous servings and an eclectic concoction of flavours.
There’s always that risk when a once-independent restaurant expands to a nationwide brand, quality inevitably suffers. Shoryu, happily, doesn’t seem to have fallen into that trap. You can expect friendly and knowledgeable staff who fully understand the menu and its roots, exciting ingredients and above all else, genuinely flavourful dishes that pack a punch the way proper ramen should.
Images by Bradley Lengden