Weekly pop up brings the Japanese staple to the Old Town

Some things, like pizza, lend themselves to takeaway and home delivery, but there are some things that really only work in a restaurant. Ramen is definitely one of them. You don’t want your Deliveroo guy slopping your soupy noodles all over the place. And now he doesn’t have to as Sumisu Ramen has started a weekly Wednesday pop up at Ladle, on George Street. 

By Steven Short

CREDIT: James Smith

James Smith (Sumisu is the Japanese equivalent of his surname) got hooked on the Japanese noodle soup when he tried it in a restaurant near his Japanese wife, Ai’s, hometown. “To me it’s just perfect soul food,” says James, “I wanted to try all the different styles and varieties as there really are so many, and I wanted to figure out how to make it as we miss it so much when we’re not in Japan.” Although he says he “failed miserably” at his first attempts, when Ai finally said, “THAT’S RAMEN!” he knew he was ready to start sharing his with others. 

Options to choose from

Sumisu offers a set menu that starts with a marinated seaweed and cucumber salad before a choice of gyoza, either with prawn, cabbage, ginger, and spring onion or, for veggies, oyster mushroom, garlic and bamboo shoots. You then get a choice of four bowls of ramen, three of which feature James’s six hour chicken and pork broth. Meat eaters can choose between Tokyo Shoyu – slow-cooked chashu pork belly with ajitama soft-boiled egg, bean sprout, spring onions and nori seaweed and Miso or Spicy Miso, which has a miso version of the broth and added sweetcorn. My other half went for the ‘very spicy’ option while I had the Vegan Tantanmen, a tasty bowl of mushroom and kombu dashi with sesame and chilli oil base, soy milk, spicy aubergine mince, bean sprouts, pak choi, spring onions and nori seaweed. I hadn’t had Ramen for ages and James does it well – and at £15 for the three courses, at a great price too. 

CREDIT: James Smith

Changing tastes

James says that they plan to change the menu from time to time so “people can try different and interesting regional styles. As we live by the sea, I’d love to make a ramen that uses locally caught and sustainable fish and seafood – a ‘Hastings-style Ramen’!” 

He hopes, eventually, to open his own place, but until then, you can find him every Wednesday from 6pm at Ladle (59 George St), Hastings TN34 3EE. 

To make reservations, see Sumisu on Instagram @sumisu_ramen

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