Shoryu Ramen (Soho)

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Memorable and mildly murky Japanese soup
Immediately off Shaftesbury Avenue at the southwestern tip of Soho is this second and buzzy 80-seat branch of Shoryu – a small but excellent 'chain' specialising in tonkotsu ramen noodle soup in the Hakata style (from a district of Fukuoka on the southern island of Kyushu, Japan). Driven by the team behind the local Japan Centre, Shoryu (loosely translated as 'good luck') knows what it's doing, with a Hakata-born chef and soups made with flavourful pork broth cooked for at least 12 hours. Plus excellent home-made hosomen ('thin noodle'). The signature tonkotsu dish is very good and becomes even more adventurous with the citrussy yuzu option, and even more so with added freshly pressed garlic (available on the table). Shoryu easily rivals Tonkotsu in Dean St [see entry] and is a more subtle option for those who find the broth at the more rock 'n' roll Bone Daddies a bit too visceral. Sushi and sashimi are also on the menu, and sake, shochu and umeshu are also a big thing here, with more than 130 varieties to choose from. Atmosphere is full-on lively, with fairly inobtrusive humpy beats tempered by a decor that is a tasteful combination of woody surfaces and elegant charcoals. Queueing is inevitable at peak times. Orther London outlets include Kingly Court (off Carnaby St), Regent St, Liverpool St, New Oxford St and Great Eastern St (in Shoreditch).