Supa Ya Ramen going from pop-up to permanent was one of the noodle world's big Good News stories of 2021.
What's the deal?
Supa Ya's just celebrated their third birthday as a business, but their Dalston restaurant's still box-fresh and only just over the six-month line when we visit.
It started life as a series of supperclubs in ex-Nopi chef Luke Findlay's home in Hackney, in 2019. The next three years saw him switch it up a few times — residencies, pop ups, a false start with a bricks-and-mortar restaurant of his own in early 2020, and a constantly sold-out ramen-kit-at-home deal brightening people's lockdowns. Now he's doing his 'traditionally inauthentic' ramen from a small bar on Kingsland Road, with a short, ever-alluring menu, and a near-constant queue.
Keep a watch for their semi-regular collabs and guest chef dates, recently including the ever-great Mystic Börek.
What's the vibe?
Small, shoulder-to-shoulder noodle bar. A little, semi-open-kitchen at the back. Loud, smells great, relatively spartan, usually every seat taken. It's not a lingering dinner kind of place, but there's no sense of onward hustle from the staff when we order a second round of food.
What's on the menu?
Ramen, mostly, with a regularly shifting set of specials if you want an excuse to keep going back. The Reuben ramen — a menu fixture — would be the one to beat: salt beef and pickles, chicken broth, soy, smoked bacon oil, silk-thin slices of meat, a gluey egg, and enough chilli to make walking back out into what was a very not-spring-yet night feel almost welcome.
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There's a handful of starters — whipped tofu and chilli honey, house pickles (sounds basic but is, actually, phenomenal), and a small but nice range of craft beer by the can.
Feels decent for what you're getting. £15 for a bowl of ramen — decent size, hearty, rich enough that you wouldn't say no to a nap after. And substantial enough as a solo act that we probably didn't need to go in for that second round of ordering, but no regrets. Beer's about a fiver a can.
No reservations, so you'll have to try your luck. Table turnover's relatively quick, but it's also a pocket-sized bar — we reckon 20ish covers — so if the queue's more than ten people deep, you could be in for the long-haul. They're on the WalkUp app now, though, so you can queue virtually from a nearby pub.
Pre-game and post-game?
You're on the edge of Dalston, so couldn't be better off for both. Personally we'd consider Supa Ya the pre-game, because all good Dalston nights start with firm stomach-lining, and then head up Kingsland Road to Dalston Superstore, Red Hand, Servant Jazz Quarters, or any number of cocktail or craft beer crawl opportunities. If you make it past the 1am line, finish up at The Jago, (3.30 am on weekends), Pamela (2.30 am on weekends), or Village 512 (a glorious 6 am on weekends).
Supa Ya Ramen, Dalston.
Londonist visited anonymously, and paid for our meal.