I’m back in business, once again. My Dell Inspiron 7000 Gaming is making the long trip to Germany via UPS to have a pesky power cutting problem fixed (hopefully). I spent the evening resurrecting my Dell Studio XPS 16 with Windows 10, and finally got round to writing this post.
Time for a food adventure, accompanied by your friendly neighbourhood Seamus. Yes, that Seamus. The very occasional guest contributor to Ordinary Decent Gamer, bioinformatician, chef, and all round madman. Ra-men has different connotations around Belfast, but the ramen I’m talking about is Japanese noodle soup, and one of my absolute favourite foods. I couldn’t get enough of the stuff in Japan, but the ramen I tried in Sakura on Botanic left something to be desired. It was good, but it wasn’t ramen as I knew it. There was a definite gap in the market – one that was filled by Bia Rebel and chef Brian Donnelly.
Bia Rebel started life as a food van at the Big Fish, and has now expanded into it’s own shop on the Ormeau Road. Chef Brian Donnelly was trying to source noodles for a ramen venture, and upon failing to find a local supplier, started making his own. The noodles really do set it apart from the competition, along with the fresh, locally sourced ingredients. I had tried the Belfast Ramen during a food festival last year, and now it was time for something different.
The shop was compact, with seats at the counter, and several at the window. There were only a few customers present when we arrived, so we had a chance to chat to Brian about his venture, and what he had been up to. A film crew had just been and gone for one project, and he’s also going to be talking at the TEDx Stormont Salon this year. We ordered two bowls of spicy ramen, and took our seats.
To start, we were given a bowl of sliced mushrooms and carrots, with what could’ve been a peanut based sauce. I’m not a mushroom fan, but they managed to win me over. It wasn’t long before the main attraction. A bowl of spicy ramen, packed full of noodles, vegetables, spicy pork mince, and topped off with a soft boiled egg. Food heaven. The noodles were soft, but with a slight bite, and chewy texture. They’re superior to the usual instant ramen/noodles. Their ramen eggs are a dark brown, apparently made with soy sauce and tea, rather than the usual soy sauce and mirin.
It wasn’t long before the whole shop was absolutely buzzing with avid ramen fans looking for a seat, so we slurped the last of the soup and headed off. The evening was rounded off with a trip to the Vineyard, a specialist wine, spirit, and craft beer supplier. The selection was incredible, almost overwhelming. I had a browse round the shop, being careful not to bump any of the bottles as some were worth hundreds of pounds. They also have a selection of sake, so I picked up a bottle of umeshu, a Japanese plum wine which I haven’t had since my Tokyo adventure. For any foodies out there, the Ormeau Road is definitely worth a visit.
On a gaming note, I pulled out Resident Evil 7 on the PS4 again only to be slaughtered instantly. Who knew a small folding knife was no match for horrifying monsters?