Ramen kit producer gets first permanent site

Cardiff-based pop-up and ramen kit producer Matsudai Ramen will open its firts bricks and mortar restaurant this summer. 

Just two years after it was founded, the brand will take over a 1,700sq ft former Natwest Bank on Clare Road in Grangetown, located just a 15-minute walk from Cardiff city centre. 

The venue, which will be subtitled 'Matsudai Ramen at The Bank', will still have the original basement vaults, most recently used as a coffee shop and co-working space operated by Lufkin Coffee, who will rent a room and continue to operate as a part-time roastery. 

Launched in 2019 by James Chant, Matsidai Ramen has since operated at several pop-up events, taking over kitchens in London, Manchester and Bristol.

When trading capabilities were restricted by Covid-19 lockdowns, Chant adapted the business model by delivering thousands of freshly prepared DIY ramen kits all over the UK, with the company now employing seven staff to oversee the growing operation. The new restaurant will create employment opportunities for a further eight staff members. 

Maintaining the original parquet flooring where the bank manager's office used to be, as well as the high ceilings and original windows, the new site will hold a maximum of 70 covers, including 10 seats at the bar overlooking an open kitchen. 

The menu will feature a mix of ramen styles that will change with the seasons. The karaage (a Japanese deep frying method) chicken and mushrooms formerly featured at Matsudai's pop-ups will be a permanent fixture. 

On the opening, Chant comments: "Thanks to the audience who found us through our kits, we've been able to do sell-out pop-ups all over the UK, but the plan was always to open the first permanent Matsudai Ramen shop in my home town in Cardiff. It's where everything began for us and we're so excited to have found this amazing space in Grangetown, which feels like the perfect fit."

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