The new restaurant has 70 covers – double that of its predecessor.Having previously operated the site as a pop-up from early April, Japan Centre Group wanted to ‘test Soho’ and trial different dishes before taking a longer lease.
It now features an open ramen kitchen, allowing diners to watch chefs preparing the tonkotsu ramen noodles from the Hakata district of Fukuoka City. A separate bar area has also been added to the venue, featuring 120 types of sake – the largest selection in Europe.
Ramen - a Japanese noodle dish often flavoured with soy sauce or miso - will be priced between £9 and £11 at Shoryu Soho, with Japan Centre’s executive chef Kanji Furukawa (from Fukuoka City) overseeing delivery of the dishes, which use a pork-based thick white soup and includes wasabi, piri piri and their signature Shoryu varieties.
Traditional sushi, sashimi and starter dishes will also be available, along with a number of sides such as pork dumplings and takoyaki deep-fried octopus balls.
Shoryu Soho is the latest addition to Japan Centre’s growing portfolio, which includes their flagship restaurant and supermarket on Regent Street, a sushi and sake bar in Westfield Stratford City and an online shop.
With a spate of other new venues in the West End focusing on ramen, Tak Tokumine - chief executive of the group and owner of Shoryu Ramen - believes the concept offers its own unique take on ramen dishes.
“UK noodle culture has really become more sophisticated in recent years, especially in London where there are many east-Asian eateries vying for attention, Tokumine told BigHospitality. “While places such as Wagamama made this type of noodle-soup bowl a familiar sight, the style was more hybrid, combining Chinese, Japanese and south-east Asian flavours.
“As the British market has become more accustomed to noodles, we're able to introduce very specific dishes, such as Hakata tonkotsu ramen, for those looking for the ‘real deal.’”
And, given the current popularity of ramen restaurants in London, Tokumine says the ramen concept has the potential to grow outside of the capital. “There's no reason it can't expand out of London,” he added. “Inside the capital there's certainly still plenty of room for growth for those of us wanting to bring authenticity to the market.”
Shoryu Ramen Soho is now open as a permanent restaurant at 2-3 Denman Street.