Pop-up and delivery company Matsudai Ramen announces first permanent site
Cardiff pop-up and ramen meal kit producer Matsudai has secured its first permanent site, with plans to open its doors early this summer.
Matsudai Ramen will take over a 1,700 sq ft former Natwest Bank on the outskirts of Cardiff city centre in Grangetown. The site will seat 70 covers, including 10 seats at the bar overlooking an open kitchen.
The refurb plans to retain the bank's original basement vaults and parquet flooring, while the building's high ceilings and large original windows will flood the space with natural light.
Guests will be served a mix of ramen styles which will change with the seasons, with the Matsudai pop-up's popular karaage (a Japanese method of deep frying) chicken and mushrooms becoming a permanent fixture on the menu.
The site, which will be called Matsudai Ramen at the Bank, will rent out a room to roastery company Lufkin Coffee which has been using the space in recent months as a coffee shop and co-working space.
Matsudai was founded over two years ago by James Chant when he began hosting pop-up events which quickly acquired a cult following. He was on the verge of opening a permanent site when Covid hit in March 2020, putting the brakes on his restaurant launch. But instead of feeling defeated, the self-confessed ramen addict set up an at-home meal-kit business which became a roaring success and now employs seven people who ship hundreds of kits around the UK every week.
The meal kit business and allowed Chant to do more pop-ups when restrictions eased, collaborating with the likes of Benugo, before finally finding a permanent home for his brand, which will create an additional eight jobs.
"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 of 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," said Chant, who will continue his meal kit business alongside the new restaurant.
"For people who want to support us as we get ready to open, just ordering our kits is a huge help - so we hope people keep doing that! But we've been pulling in favours, and now we have some really exciting stuff to announce in the next few weeks, including supper club collaborations (with Tim Anderson amongst others), new and limited Matsudai merch, and an incredible opening party.
"We want to give people a taste of the kinds of things we'll be doing at the restaurant, and it will all help to raise some extra funds towards the refurb, too."