The 82-cover (70 inside; 12 outside) restaurant will open on Upper Street in Islington, London by the beginning of September, and serve traditionally inspired Japanese soups with a twist. Infused with different cultural flavours, the menu includes Japanese chashu (pork belly) and crackling miso ramen; a Korean-inspired 48-hour spicy miso marinated salmon kimchi ramen or the novel British bulldog roast beef ramen with mini Yorkshire puddings and wasabi gravy.
The kitchen will be led by head chef Ron Laity, who was born in England but spent six years in Japan immersing himself in the country’s culture and cuisine.
Positioning itself as ‘a fast casual dining space’, the restaurant will not accept reservation, and ramen dishes will be priced around the £8-10 mark, with lunch deals available.
Though a permanent venue was always the goal, Resch explained that pop-ups gave him and his team invaluable insight. “Pop-ups are a great way to introduce ideas and what you’re trying to do. From a restaurant perspective it takes a lot of capital to open a restaurant, so the feedback and the interaction you have with customers before you open through the likes of pop-ups is invaluable. It allowed us to test out all of the dishes that we were thinking of putting on our menu and to get direct feedback from our customers,” he told BigHospitality.
Seven pop-up events have been held since December 2013 – all cooked by Laity – and the team included feedback forms on their placemat menus, collecting a great number of comments.
“I’ve been working on this for a while, it’s a passion of mine, and we were always working towards opening a permanent site. Pop-ups were just a great way to test everything out between finalising what we were doing and getting that site,” added Resch.
And although the focus is currently on this first venue, he does not exclude the idea of expanding with additional sites if everything goes well.