Home > Food > ‘Wales’s only dedicated ramen joint’ announces residency at new coffee shop

‘Wales’s only dedicated ramen joint’ announces residency at new coffee shop

After a series of sold out pop-ups, Matsudai Ramen announces a weekend run in December at new Canton café 

A tonkotsu ramen, characterised by its rich, creamy broth. Via Flickr, credit: Robyn Lee

Matsudai Ramen is the latest passion project from former musician and events manager James Chant. Proving popular with Cardiff foodies, its pop-ups at Blue Honey Café have sold out for the remainder of the year.

However, James and Matsudai are setting up for a weekend service at Hard Lines Coffee’s new shop on Cowbridge Road East throughout December. 

James says the pop-ups at Blue Honey have been really encouraging and are all about experimenting with ingredients before he moves to Hard Lines, “I’m learning so much every time I go there,” he says. He has also recently moved into a professional kitchen in Penarth, where he wants to develop a starter menu and more vegetarian and vegan options.

He cites his love of Japanese food [he toured Japan a decade ago] and overall lack of the product in Wales as main factors for setting up Matsudai. After scouring the internet and Asian markets for ingredients and recipes, he started to make ‘proper’ ramen during the middle of last year. “It feels like a computer game going into Asian markets. You unlock ingredients then it gets better all the time,” he says.  

A traditional Tokyo Shoyu ramen. Via Flickr, credit: City Foodsters.

James makes clear reference to the American influence on his ramens, especially his tonkotsu, a richer, creamier variation on traditional Japanese style. “There’s no such thing as authentic ramen. There’s a lot of room to roam,” he added. 

Hard Lines expects to open their new shop at the end of the month. Currently at Cardiff Market, Sophie Smith sees the new café as “an opportunity for us to design, own and operate a space that is entirely our own.”

They look forward to working with Matsudai, “We’re really pleased to be able to host an event alongside him. It’s great to be able to host something in the evening that is totally different to what we do in the day,” said Sophie.

Matsudai is very much at its early stages, and James wants to play it by ear, “As long as I’m doing something creative, I’ll be alright. It’s the key to happiness for me.”

You can follow Matsudai Ramen and Hard Lines Coffee on Twitter for updates.

Read More
Kemi Nevins smiling
Cardiff Character: Kemi Nevins
The vintage, antiques and retro emporium that’s expanding next year
nurse talking to patient on sofa
Fundraiser at Cardiff vegan restaurant to help Cancer Centre
A food pop-up will help refugees by encouraging diversity of cultures