Matsudai Ramen is Wales’ only dedicated ramen spot.
A nomadic pop-up founded in Cardiff, it serves up steaming bowls of hand-made noodles, long-simmered broths and deeply flavoured toppings – attracting attention and high praise from local foodies, popular food bloggers and even established ramen cooks from across the pond.
But until now, getting your hands on one of these flavour-packed broths has been no easy task, as every single pop-up event has completely sold out – with mailing list subscribers snapping up all of the tickets within minutes of them going on sale.
A new, seven-week kitchen takeover at Blue Honey Local in Roath, Cardiff looks set to change that and help Matsudai bring ‘proper ramen’ to the masses.
Kicking things off with a ticketed Valentine’s Special on the 14th February, Matsudai will then offer both walk-ins and bookings at Blue Honey Local until the 4th April, serving Wednesday – Friday (5pm – 10pm) and all-day Saturday (12noon – 11pm). Table bookings can be made via the Matsudai Ramen website.
Every week Matsudai will showcase different kinds of ramen – from super-rich tonkotsu and tori paitan broths; to more delicately balanced shio and shoyu; and hearty, umami-stuffed miso bowls. Each week will also showcase at least one vegan and vegetarian ramen.
And for the first time at a Matsudai event, the Blue Honey residency will also feature a small menu of Japanese small plates and side dishes.
There will also be a handful of special, guest-chef nights as part of the Blue Honey residency – these will be ticketed only, with first access to tickets being made available to newsletter subscribers.
Since launching just a few months ago, Matsudai has served over 1200 bowls of ramen at pop-up events around Cardiff. The project is the brainchild of 40-year-old musician-turned-ramen-cook James Chant, and whilst he is meticulous about sourcing as many ‘authentic’ ingredients as possible, he also leans on local suppliers, sourcing bones from a local, high-welfare farm for use in his pork bone broths which take up to four days to prepare.
James said, “I suppose Matsudai is Wales’ version of proper ramen, and the response to it has been amazing so far. Cardiff was so ready for ramen, and I just hope people end up loving it as much as I do.”