Shoryu Soho – Delicious Gluten Free Ramen in London

Shoryu’s tonkotsu bone broth with gluten-free rice noodles packs a whole lot of flavour and umami, while their gluten-free hirata buns are filled with deliciously crisp fillings and perfectly matched sauces. Shoryu have completely mastered the art of creating delicious gluten-free dishes that don’t compromise on flavour or texture.

Shoryu Sohoshoryu ganso tonkotsu gluten free shoryu london

It wasn’t the first time I’d been to Shoryu, but it was my first time at the Soho location, just near Piccadilly Circus on Denman Street. I’ve been a massive fan of Shoryu for a while – I’d done a review around a year ago on this site, but wanted to focus more on the gluten-free offerings available.

Shoryu Soho, London

The atmosphere at Shoryu is pretty casual – the trendy black and gold Asia-inspired fusion decor, combined with the fact that it’s always brimming with people gives the place a lively atmosphere. Depending on the size of your party, you’re usually sat immediately next to strangers on a long table, in line with the way ramen is traditionally consumed – hurriedly eaten seated beside strangers. One thing worth keeping in mind is that they refuse to seat incomplete parties, so if you are the type to get ‘hangry’, it might be worth coordinating beforehand.

Salmon Hirata bun - Shoryu London

My dinner companion was the lovely Priscilla from Food Porn Nation, formerly based in Sydney but currently blogging in London, and a fellow ramen fan. Once we’d been seated, we immediately got stuck in to the menu, questioning the waitstaff thoroughly regarding their personal preferences and recommendations. We started our meal with a bottle of umeshu – a Japanese plum wine which is a particular weakness of mine. Although delicious and enjoyable, it is quite sweet, and not necessarily a beverage I’d recommend with savoury hirata buns or ramen (although I will definitely end up ordering it again).

Tori Karaage Gluten Fre Hirata Bun - Shoryu London

For starters, we went for the Shoryu hirata buns – their take on the steamed Taiwanese street food trend, which involves steamed bread-like buns filled with various savoury fillings. The gluten-free options for the buns included chicken karaage, a Japanese fried chicken dish made with potato starch (see my recipe here), as well a ginger salmon option. I was completely enamored with the latter – the crispy salmon skin combined with the soft texture of the warm bun was exquisite. The gluten-free buns were really something – I didn’t feel, as I often feel when having the gluten-free option, that I was missing out on anything at all.

Chicken karaage gluten free hirata buns shoryu londonchicken karaage gluten free hirata buns

For the main course I went for the restaurant’s signature dish – the Shoryu Ganso Tonkotsu ramen. I substituted the regular wheat noodles for gluten-free rice noodles, similar to those found in Pho. The Tonkotsu broth is made by boiling down and reducing pork bones for hours on end, creating a rich, creamy flavour and consistency to the broth. I decided to go for the Shoryu Ganso Broth and skipped the nitamago which accompanies many of the ramen dishes, as the boiled egg is flavoured with soy sauce. Other gluten-free options are available, like Tori Karaage-men, which is made with a shiitake mushroom and kombu seaweed and soy broth.

Shoryu ganso tonkotsu ramen gluten freeshoryu ganso tonkotsu ramen gluten free shoryu soho

As always, the ramen was spot on – the flavours of the broth were rich, delicious and comforting – and while the rice noodles didn’t quite compare to their gluten-filled equivalent, they were still satisfying.

shoryu ganso tonkotsu ramen gluten free

Despite thinking we were well and truly stuffed, we ordered a couple of the mochi on the strong recommendation of our waiter, who favoured the raspberry and chocolate one in particular. Luckily, these were also gluten-free: the first bite was slightly surprising, as I was still expecting the traditional red-bean filling for the dessert, but the raspberry mochi (a sweet rice cake) was unbelievable – tart yet sweet, indulgent yet light – a definite winner. I wasn’t as keen on the Tiramisu, but that could be due to the fact that I am not a Tiramisu fan generally.

Shoryu mochi

Around three or four sets of diners had come and go in the time it had taken us to finish our meal – not particularly unusual when a couple of food bloggers go for dinner.  The service was prompt and efficient, yet I didn’t feel pressured or rushed at all to leave – the entire meal was extremely pleasant, and came to around £35 per head.

I strongly recommend Shoryu for gluten-free diners and their companions – a delicious meal in a low-key, smart-casual atmosphere in several locations: you’re onto a winner.

4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)

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The Chai Party

Chai Party

Last Sunday I had the pleasure of going along to the home of Nisha, the blogger behind My Kitchen Antics for an Indian-inspired afternoon Chai party. Nisha’s beautiful blog features some incredible recipes so I was thrilled to be invited – especially when I was presented with the Chai Party menu!

ChaipartyMenu

Nisha, with the help of some other lovely bloggers created a menu to die for. We started the afternoon off with some kamsin kali cocktails. I’m a fan of chai tea, but I never would have thought to include it in a cocktail. The kamsin kali was lovely – the vanilla chai, combined with plum and bubbly is definitely something I’ll be recreating soon.

Chai Party

Other items on the menu were inspired by Indian spices and flavours, like the idhar udhar – a fusion focaccia, or the aam ras macarons, which were my personal favourite. The macarons were delicately flavoured with indian mango and were an absolute delight.

I was given a special plate with some gluten-free options – a plate of the chickpea and coconut salad, which were served in the ice cream cones for the others, as well as the london desi prawns, which I had top some gluten-free oatcakes. I also had some of the Hyderabad 65 – a dish of spicy, succulent chicken which was divine.

Chai Party Chai Party

The whole event really inspired me, and has made me want to go to India more than ever before. The flavours were so incredible, and I’d love to  experience more! It was also so much fun and really exciting to get to know and meet some incredible food bloggers.

The chai party also gave me the opportunity to dress up – I’d borrowed a sari, but needed the help of Gayathri to get it on properly! The afternoon was a great way to get to know some really lovely ladies, and talk about our shared passion for food, as well as play some games. I was really pleased with my prize of a beautiful teapot, as you can see below:

Chai Party Chai Party Chai Party Chai PartyDSC010012Chai Party chaiparty food Indian prawns

I’m off to Cambodia on the 15th, and I’ve been inspired by the chai party to do a bit more fusion recipe development and I really can’t wait to get started.

Chai Party

The event was an absolute success and I can’t thank Nisha and everyone enough for including me. I’ve met some really lovely and talented people!

DSC01028Check out the fabulous ladies and their wonderful food blogs below:

Kitchen Karma

My Kitchen Antics

Mummy & Me

The Veggie Indian

Ruchi

A Girl has to Eat

Sliceoffme

Food Porn Nation

Siri’s Food

DSC01024 DSC01023

The event was sponsored in part by Tea India, who provided the lovely teas. My personal favourite was the Masala Chai.

Chai Party

The event was a great way to experience and share new flavours, and talk about culture. Who knows, maybe 2015 is the year I host a Japanese-themed matcha tea party? Watch this space…

Burger & Lobster, Farringdon

Looking for the perfect place for a payday lunch? You really can’t beat Burger & Lobster in terms of value, and it feels really indulgent, too. I’d been to the Dean Street location previously, but I much prefer the Farringdon location – much less chaotic. At the chain’s Soho location you are more likely to face a crowd, and there’s something unsettling and off-putting about eating while the people around you are angling for your table – personally, it doesn’t make for a particularly pleasant dining experience.

Burger & Lobster, FarringdonBurger & Lobster, FarringdonBurger & Lobster, Farringdon

The menu is simple – you have the choice of lobster (grilled or steamed), lobster roll, or burger – all with a side salad and chips for £20. For those who can’t be forced to choose, if you have a willing companion you can split both – each get a burger, and half a lobster for around £30 which also comes with a dessert, as seen below.

Burger & Lobster, FarringdonBurger & Lobster, Farringdon

I went for the grilled whole lobster, which came with a buttery sauce, salad and fries. Deliciously succulent lobster, perfect fries and a lovely salad – it’s so simple, but it’s a recipe for success.

Burger & Lobster, FarringdonBurger & Lobster, FarringdonBurger & Lobster, Farringdon

Unfortunately, the dessert options for those on a gluten-free diet are non-existent – the choices are either cheesecake or chocolate brownie, so I ended up opting for another glass of prosecco.

All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable working or payday lunch, at excellent value. The atmosphere is pretty casual, so although the menu might seem impressive this is more a place to come with friends rather than a date. And leave your vegetarian friends at home – there’s nothing for them here!

Burger & Lobster: 4.0 Stars (4.0 / 5)

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Chez Elles, Brick Lane

Chez Elles is definitely worth a visit if you’re around Brick Lane or Spitalfields – a delicious, kitschy gem hidden among the sea of curry houses.

Chez Elles

We stopped in on our way to a concert at the All Saint’s Church in Spitalfields (the Camden Symphony Orchestra – they’re playing Handel’s Messiah next) for a quick bite. Chez Elles were able to accommodate the six of us at 6pm, but we were told the table was booked from half eight.

The decor in Chez Elles is eclectic and adorable – the birdcages, plates and framed vintage prints, along with the loveseat in the corner and French tunes are the stuff of instagram dreams. It has a really nice atmosphere, and with a lot of conversation pieces it’s the kind of place that would work well for a meal out with friends or a first date. I also thoroughly enjoyed the mismatching cutlery and plates – it added to the character of the place: life is far too short for matching sets.

Chez EllesChez Elles Menu

We went straight for the mains in order to make good time to make the show, though I was particularly tempted by the Foie Gras. The service was friendly and helpful, which is always a bonus, particularly for Brick Lane (in my experience) and when it comes to French cuisine (also from experience).

Chez Elles Steak Tartar

Always a fan of anything raw, I went for the tartare de boeuf et frites maison, or steak tartar. I also find it tends to be a ‘safe’ (gluten-free) choice, as flour tends to be rife in French cooking. It was seasoned beautifully, accompanied by a perfectly dressed salad and crisp frites. The best steak tartar I’ve had in London yet!

Chez Elles Steak Tartar

My fellow diners went for the special – lamb burger – and classic French staple moules marinieres. I only sampled the latter – and I found the sauce was creamy and rich, simple and delicious.

Chez Elles Lamb BurgerChez Elles

Chez Elles have really nailed it – a charming vibe, excellent food, great location – which is a refreshing change from the increasingly anonymous monotony of Brick Lane curry houses (though I’m open to recommendations). It was an absolute pleasure. The only vague criticism had by the table was one I hear almost every time – the usual grouching about eating off of slate trays instead of plates. Not a problem for me, although admittedly their collection of crockery is infinitely more charming.

Again, due to time we only stayed for a coffee – but like the Terminator, I’ll be back (for Creme Brulee).

Chez Elles: 3.5 Stars (3.5 / 5)

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