As the dust settles on the restaurants and fast food joints at the new Westgate Centre, the men are separating from the boys, a phrase that would no doubt set Emily Pankhurst’s teeth on edge.

Regardless, while some have been an instant success, both on the roof and in the Social food hall, others are languishing, not quite hitting the mark, needing to fine tune their product for the Oxford market.

Shoryu Ramen was late to the game, it’s official opening party held earlier this month.

And it certainly causd a stir in December, with long queues stretching back on opening day when it gave away free ramen for earlybird customers.

The Oxford Times:

Unable to wait, by then I’d already dined there in style, fascinated by this new take on Japanese food, delighted not to be faced with sushi again, as if the Japanese don’t eat anything else.

By managing to nab a spot on the Lower Arcade Ground Floor shopping avenue, it relies heavily on passing trade, so the restaurant itself has a deluged air about it, its open-plan kitchen fortified against a fluctuating mass of transitory customers both day and night.

Which means that while stylish, it is more suited to those popping in and replenishing rather than dining lavishly, although the bar at the end is more luxe, somewhere to hide away and relax.

We perched there while eyeing the sake cocktails with slight alarm. They sounded wonderful but lethal. We piled in anyway, the eye-wateringly expensive Yellow Ichiyo (£12), which included fresh basil and shiso leaf, and the Nashi Pear Sake (£10), which boasted Americano Cocchi Rosa, Namazake and Asbolut pear with ginger ale, and slid down like a sozzled snake.

The Oxford Times:

It was slightly harder to focus on the menus as a result, but as shoryu buns and bowls of ramen were the order of the day, the selection was quite easy.

As it turned out, the entire meal was an oriental journey of new experiences, taking in numerous dishes, tastes and textures I’d never explored before.

Take the starter of black sesame tofu with a sweet miso sauce and tenderstem broccoli, which arrived like a Japanese version of a panna cotta, a wobbly cube of soft lushness, set off by the sharp sticky glaze and a softly grilled piece of broccoli – an exotic mouthful, which worked brilliantly.

The goma kyuri cucumber resembled a long caterpillar cake of textural complexity – the soft, crunch of the bite-sized cucumber offset by a sesame sauce.

Shoryu buns were basically a Japanese take on a burger, Willy Wonka’d like a Pixar film until soft and bouncy, like a shaped savoury candy floss.

Their fillings were also reminiscent of the American staple, including a Japanese mayo, accompanied by the squeak of either the unJapanese halloumi cheese, pork belly or marinated chicken, depending on your penchant.

They were so moreish I whimpered and the next time I get tired and emotional I’m tempted to park myself there for a whole day until I’m shoryu-bunned out. Did I really say that out loud?

Sadly, such indulgence wasn’t an option, because there was more to try, ramen being big on menus at the moment in various incarnations.

Bowls of oriental broth with noodles everywhere, from Pho’s vietnamese offering on the Westgate roof to the laksa at Banana Tree in George Street.

But these were as good; the unusual broth of pork topped with char siu barbecue pork belly, nitamago egg, kikurage mushrooms, spring onion, sesame, ginger and nori seaweed, which is then stewed for 12 hours.

Choose your variation (curry, spicy, chicken, seafood, vegetarian (£12.90), white, dracula garlic or meatier).

The seafood (£14.90) arriving floating with eggs and prawns, was like delving into the Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo.

The puddings were equally as eclectic, such as the sakura and azuki chiffon cake with cherry coulis (£5.90), but by now we were full to the brim, the ramen sloshing about like water in a bucket, and made a rather undignified exit.

I’ll be back though. I liked it.

Shoryu Ramen was different, unusual and tasty all at the same time, and although currently a novelty, looks set to be in Oxford for the long run.

Shoryu Ramen

134 The Westgate, Queens Street, Oxford, OX1 1PB


Mon - Sat 11.30am - 11pm

Sun & Bank Holidays 12 noon - 9.30pm

Last orders 30 minutes before closing time.

Try the: Shoryu Buns in chicken, pork belly or halloumi