Belfast’s first authentic ramen shop has opened on the Ormeau Road.
The shop offers 7 different bowls and a variety of sides and salads, with prices ranging from £3 (for edamame beans served with house-made hot sauce) to £8 for the signature Belfast Ramen featuring slow-cooked pork and the 606 Tea Egg. The tea egg, developed in-house, is marinated in smoked tea and has a deep, rich, smoky flavour.
Bia Rebel also offers vegan options (a miso-broth ramen with tofu and vegetables, as well as rice and potato dishes) and gluten free sides. One of the most popular dishes is the Tom Yum Chicken Wings (£5).
Led by Michelin-trained chef Brian Donnelly, Bia Rebel Ramen is bringing high-quality food to the mid-price market. Primarily a takeaway, Donnelly and his team make fresh noodles every day and source their pork and eggs from small-scale, traditional farmers. The broths and seasonings are also made in-house, making Bia Rebel the only takeaway in Belfast that offers high-end restaurant innovation in a fast food package.
“We believe that really good food should be accessible to everyone and not just those who can spend £200 on a meal,” Donnelly says.
While Brian worked in some of the UK and Ireland’s most highly regarded restaurants, he learned to make ramen noodles by watching Japanese chefs on YouTube. He loves ramen because it offers the opportunity to create something new and different but also wholesome, satisfying and fast.
“Ramen is a punk rock cuisine – it doesn’t have as many rules to follow as something like sushi,” Brian says. “I want to deliver a delicious experience to the customer but I don’t want to be constrained by elaborate traditions or high prices.”