Up we pop (to The Ramen Shop)
It’s all about location, location, location they say. Some locations are good, some are better, some are rubbish, but some don’t even exist. It’s the life of a pop up restaurant to be forever wandering; homeless and riding the rails like some sort of food dispensing drifter.
The Ramen Shop is one of Wellington’s growing number of exciting pop up joints and when I visited it was appropriately popped up in the Flight Coffee Hangar on Dixon Street. Who knows where it will be next time?*
I’d spoken to The Ramen Shop’s Asher (who, along with kitchen and business partner Tsubasa Takahashi, works fulltime at Pickle Eating House and Bar) ahead of time, and he advised me to arrive early. I did. Thank God. I had assumed that turning up before it technically opened would guarantee me a spot. It did: by the door and only just. It seemed that the word was out and all of Wellington’s bright, young and trendy had heard it. Fair enough. It’s pretty damn cool.
So, assuming you have found a seat (if you haven’t, just order a beer and wait – don’t go anywhere!), order the bowl of ramen. The standard bowl alone is by all accounts bounteous and delicious, but I wouldn’t know as I was tempted by the plethora of little additions that could be added for pocket change prices. A Choose Your Own Adventure type of noodle gig. I added some extra nori and sprouts, some TRULY fantastic shiitake mushrooms, and some pork belly. Moderation be damned! Besides, it’s hard to know when I’ll next have the chance to eat the noodly goodness.
In speaking to Asher, I’d asked about their approach to the idea, and he’d told me that at its core the Shop intends to make food that people want to eat. Well, mate, that appears to have worked. It’s a testament to the innovation and gumption of those on both sides of the Wellingtonian noodle bowl that this sort of thing exists and works.
Asher also said the Shop may find a more regular home at some point in the future. Existentially this may make it less of a pop up restaurant. Whatever. In this case, less is not more. Noodle me up!!
*Spoiler Alert: There will be spoilers on their Facebook page and we have it on good authority it’ll be popping up every Tuesday night from 6pm at The Rogue & Vagabond and every Thursday from 6pm at The Hangar.