Soranoiro (ソラノイロ) sent shockwaves through the ramen community when it opened back in 2011, thanks to owner Miyazaki-san's fresh and novel approach to ramen. Specialising in vegetable-based ramen, Soranoiro's healthy menu and bright, airy shops (a far cry from the familiar grotty neighbourhood ramen joint), have been embraced by noodle lovers far and wide.
Five years and a stack of awards later, 3 more stores are now operating across Tokyo – the most recent one over at the new commercial development, Kyobashi Grand. The original store in Tokyo's Kojimachi though is definitely worth dropping by, to see where it all started.
The menu offers a range of healthy, colourful options but the main dish that propelled Soranoiro to ramen fame was their 'Veggie Soba'.
Taking paprika-infused flat wheat noodles, Veggie Soba adds a vegetable soup made of onion, cabbage and carrot, a flavoured oil (komiyu) of leek, onion, shallots and garlic blended with Kibi chicken oil, and a salt tare comprising mussels, scallops, konbu and mackerel with French Guerande salt.
So not strictly vegetarian, but neither your average bowl of Tokyo ramen. This is where the Vegan Veggie Soba steps in.
Vegan Veggie Soba (¥1,200) gives you the choice of rice noodles over paprika (wheat) noodles to go fully gluten-free. The soup adds olive oil and tomato to the existing blend alongside a simpler salt-based tare. Vegetable toppings take over from here—many seasonal—and typically include tomato, broccoli, carrot, potato, baby leaf greens and shimeji mushroom.
Basil-enhanced oats and lotus root chips top off the bowl, adding contrasting textures to the bowl's explosion of colour.
On the bowl's edge, 2 pastes—one potato-based and the other a red yuzu kosho—add a final kick of colour. It sounds rather healthy, and one serving will provide you 75% of your recommended daily intake of vegetables. Not bad for a dish with an unhealthy reputation.