Say hello to Ramenhead. Open from 13 December at Speakers Corner in Cape Town’s city center, this new spot will offer authentic ramen with local twists and loads of attitude in a street-style eatery.
Led by chefs Peter Tempelhoff and Ashley Moss — the duo behind Eat Out award-winning Japanese-fusion restaurant FYN, the restaurant will emulate a traditional ramen shop in Japan – think long tables in a small space where guests are encouraged to eat quickly so that the next group can take their seats.
“We’re bringing the same informal, high-octane energy and implore you to slurp with abandon,” says Peter.
The team will be bringing the same FYN finesse to the restaurant but keeping the menu simple with a focus on five staple bowls of ramen plus a ‘bowl of the week’. Each of the ramen takes after a traditional style like the deeply flavoured Tonkotsu or creamy chicken-based Tori Paitan. In addition to several different ramen offerings, there’ll be traditional and gluten-free noodles. The menu also features Japanese snacks like fried chicken karaage and gyoza dumplings with a carefully curated selection of wines, beers and cocktails.
Peter and his team have imported the king of ramen noodle machines, the Yamato Richmen. All of the best handmade noodles in Japan are created using this machine which produces fast-cooking, low-hydration noodles.
“Ramen is very technical in its creation,” says Peter. “The delicate balance of ingredients — bone nutrients, lean proteins and amino acids— working together give ramen its umami, making it highly addictive and creating a feeling of euphoria. Ultimately, ramen should be fast, cheap, filling, restorative and fun, and we will bring all those components into play for a Cape Town audience.”
“Because the Richmen is something of a rockstar – and ours is the only one on the African continent,” says Ashley, “we’ve raised the machine on a plinth to add an element of theatre.
Diners can expect an atmosphere that’s fast, furious and fun, with J-rock blazing through the speakers, people slurping bowls of ramen, with cocktails, craft beers and sake flowing.
Ramenhead’s vibey, casual and playful aesthetic was brought to life by designer Tristan du Plessis of Studio A, who was responsible for the celebrated interiors of FYN. He has taken traditional elements of Japanese design and injected a fun and eclectic feel into the space.
Ramenhead will be open for lunch and dinner daily except Sundays and Mondays. The restaurant will not take reservations and won’t be accepting any cash. Find it at Speakers Corner, 37 Parliament Street, Cape Town.