Ramen has certainly become the craze among foodies in London, but admittedly I thought gluten-free alternatives were few and far in between and decidedly inferior – from the texture of the noodle, to the richness of the broth, to the lack of barbeque pork belly. SPOILER ALERT: after my recent visit to Shoryu Ramen on Carnaby Street, I stand corrected! This small, modern ramen shop boasts a sleek wooden interior, a compilation of tables and benches for small groups or solo diners to sample their signature Hakata tonkotsu ramen – steaming bowls of thick, white pork soup and skinny ramen noodles. Their menu has not one, but TWO NOBREAD approved ramen bowls and a bunch of Japanese appetizers and side dishes for gluten-free patrons to choose from. So NOBREAD London followers make your way over to a Shoryu Ramen location and see for yourself! …
On a cold rainy day, there is nothing more comforting than a bowl of noodle soup… and Shoryu Ramen knows how to serve one up just right. Before sampling both gluten-free bowls that were offered, we decided to start with some of their gluten-free recommendations. The steamed Shoryu buns are filled with soy-marinated chicken karaage (Japanese fried chicken in potato starch) and look and taste identical to their gluten-filled relatives. The warm, crispy chicken in the soft-textured bun was absolutely gorgeous and not to be missed, although there is a risk of cross-contamination from the buns, as they are made in the same bakery as other glutinous products. Also, if you are looking for an alternative to edamame to kick off your meal, try the shishito pardon peppers. These pan-fried veggies, sprinkled with hakata yuzu and sea salt, are a fun spin off of the traditional Spanish tapas dish.
But for the main event: ramen noodles. The White Natural bowl is vegetarian and gluten-free when you choose gluten-free noodles. The pork broth substitute is made from tonyu soy milk, white miso, konbu seaweed & shiitake mushroom, creating a rich, creamy flavor and consistency. Topped with lightly fried tofu, kikurage mushrooms, spring onion, bamboo shoots and nori seaweed, this bowl has color, character and consolation. The satisfying rice noodles do the trick; note the quicker you slurp them up, the better their consistency. The second NOBREAD-approved ramen bowl is the Miso Wafu Chicken, when you ask for the gluten-free noodles. Instead of tofu and bamboo shoots, this hearty soup features pieces of Japanese fried chicken in potato starch and ginger. Perfect for meat lovers craving a gluten-free friendly replacement for pork belly, this bowl will have you slurping loud to the very bottom.
Shoryu means “to bring good fortune” in Japanese. Once you taste these NOBREAD-approved buns and ramen noodle bowls bursting with umami, you will be on the right path!