Shoryu Carnaby, the third Tonkotsu Ramen restaurant of the Shoryu collection, opened a couple of month ago in the heart of Carnaby Street.
Tonkotsu Ramen is the central dish on the menu. This Japanese specialty from Hakata Bay on the Japanese island of Kyushu, is made with a thick, rich, white pork soup and thin, straight ramen noodles. The restaurant also features a respectable selection of Sake to accommodate your typical Japanese experience at Shoryu.
When you enter at Shoryu, the chefs behind the counter welcome you with a loud ‘irasshaimaseeee’ and a member of staff resonates a small traditional drum near the entrance door to announce you to the rest of the team. You have the choice to seat against the counter, right in front of the open kitchen, or at the high communal tables along the windows. If you are looking for a more intimate atmosphere, a second room at the left hand side of the restaurant offers two or three seat tables.
At the high communal table, you are seated on a really thick neutral grey leather pad along the window or on a clear wood counter chair, all around the table. You will definitely find quite handy the shelf and hook under the table-top, to keep your bag close to you.
The overall design is inspired by traditional Japanese style, mixing rough, organic, natural materials (reclaimed wall timber slats, unrefined polished concrete floor) and pure, geometric furniture.
Repetition of timber slats on ceiling, visible wood planks on counter, lines of paper lantern all round the place, reminds us of the interest in Japanese culture for rhythm and pattern.
Same regarding the lighting, except for some directional spotlights above counter and tables, the main amount of light comes through thin off white paper material.
Through a stronger version of Shoji under the counter (translucent paper over a frame to create partitions in traditional Japanese interiors), thanks to organic shaped and patterned paper pendants over communal tables and also by the elongated shape lanterns, light always softly glows around you.
As a contrast, some hard materials take place within the interior. Some elements that look like traditional metal tools, are incorporated into the wall along the open kitchen and draw sharp shadows on the light paint. We can also notice the long steel hanging shelf above the counter, displaying beautifully branded Sake and craft beer bottles. The dark tone chosen to paint the ceiling, accentuates a little more the overall contrast effect.
Food wise, with an efficient, casual and really accommodating service, the offer is fresh, well seasoned and pleases the eyes to. Some of the dishes are presented on iron pans that burn the wooden boards or lying on tree leaves upon ice bed to keep the optimum ingredient temperature until you bring it to the mouth.
Shoryu Carnaby can definitely become your Japanese lunch break into a shopping day on Oxford and Carnaby Street.