THE arrival of Shoryu Ramen with the opening of the Westgate heralded a trend for new noodle joints around town.

But while many try, none are quite as good as the fun and quirky restaurant which has now reopened after lockdown.

September’s Help Out to East Out apparently won over a new army of fans of its sublime soup and perfectly cooked wheat noodles, and Shoryu Ramen are keeping the fun going with 50 per cent off meals from Monday to Wednesday – up to the standard £10 per person – for the rest of this month.

And that was all the incentive I needed to go back and see how things had changed – and introduce a friend to the charms of this oriental gem.

Despite the promotion, things are still quiet, as they are across the Westgate – and, indeed, the city. But nothing much has changed.

Walking through the door ones arrival is instantly announced by the banging of a drum and the shout of “irasshaimase!” (welcome). The routine may get boring for the busy staff, but I never tire of it. And it’s certainly better than being ignored, which happens all too frequently.

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Slick and contemporary but with a cool, understated Japanese accent, the restaurant is a deceptively big place. Diners were never packed in previously, but are even further distanced now. Other than the lack of condiments on the tables and the ubiquitous masks worn by staff, there are few noticable post-Covid changes. Staff are quick, attentive and deftly combine politeness with a fun friendly attitude.

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We were served by the fabulous ‘TK’ who hails from Thailand, and was an absolute delight – and very funny.

Mercifully, the menu is fairly minimal – even more so post-lockdown. No one wants a telephone directory of dishes to choose from.

Their raison d’être is ramen – they do it better than most and you’d be bonkers not to try a bowl. But there are plenty of tantalising side dishes to spice things up.

We went for that Japanese staple, gyoza – stuffed dumplings – which came in a portion of six (£8.25) topped with spring onion. They were light, delicate and truly addictive. More adventurous was spicy takoyaki – deep fried diced octopus balls.

These were heavier, slightly doughy, chunks of wheat flour batter with a bite of octopus in the centre. Topped with a spicy Japanese mayo, and ‘takoyaki’ brown sauce, they were satisfying – if a little filling.

They were washed own with crisp pints of Asahi Draft (£6.30). The far inferior Kirin is also available and almost a pound cheaper per pint – but you get what you pay for.

Then it was on to the main event: a bowl of the venue’s signature noodles: Shoryu Ganso Tonkotsu (£12.90).

Noodles are cooked to your order – order ‘hard’ if you like a bit of bite and a chew, or softer for a sloppy slurp.

I like my noodles barely cooked at all – just a steamy dunk to remove the flour – and they came perfectly firm.

They are served in an impossibly tasty pork broth which has been cooking for 12-hours, topped with slices of mouthwateringly juicy ‘char siu’ barbecue pork belly, kikurage mushrooms, spring onion, sesame, ginger, slices of nori seaweed, lots of shallots.

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It’s a simple culinary masterpiece; a symphony of flavour and texture – which looks elegant and is fun (if noisy) to devour.

My friend, Luke, a ramen novice, tucked into an interesting chicken katsu curry ramen (£14.40) – which, was similar but with a thick screamy, savoury spiced katsu and soy soup base, loaded with chicken prawns, pak choi, coriander, a nitamago egg, bamboo shoots, sweet white ‘naruto’ fish cake, red ginger, and another sheet of nori seaweed.

Silence fell as we slurped and supped – polishing off every trace. Far from feeling heavy though, the freshness of the ingredients and refreshing soup left us refreshed and invigorated. And ready for just one more pint of Asahi!

If you can’t get to the Westgate, there’s no need to miss out. Shoryu Ramen are also selling DIY kits from their website – so you can (almost but not quite) create the magic at home.

There’s enough in each pack for two servings – or, for a fan like me, one massive happy bowl!


  • 134 The Westgate, Queens Street, Oxford.
  • Open: Mon-Wed 11.30am-10pm; Thur-Sun 11.30am -9pm
  • Book:
  • Menu at
  • The Eat Out to Help Out scheme continues for September with 50 per cent off Mon-Wed with a maximum discount of £10 each.
  • DIY Ramen kits cost from £20 from the website, and comes with brewed 12-hour tonkotsu soup, original ramen noodles and all toppings. Order via