Fat Ramen’s restaurants have proved a hit with discerning diners in Helsinki. The first venue was opened in 2015 by entrepreneurs Marcos Gois and Otto Sarpaniemi and the company now boasts three centrally-located venues in the Finnish capital, offering food that is entirely hand-crafted using quality ingredients and seasonal produce.

“We have three noodle restaurants in central Helsinki. Our concept, ramen, is relatively niche in Finland and even in Helsinki. We are local but feel global. Being multicultural myself, with a Finnish-Portuguese background, I truly embrace different cultures and feel like a world citizen,” explains Gois.

Gois’ love for international cuisine comes from his global travels and his childhood memories of his grandmothers’ cooking. His early culinary career was spent working in fine-dining restaurants in Helsinki followed by a three-Michelin-star restaurant in Piedmont, Italy, and several pop-ups in cities from Tokyo to New York. But it was a trip to London in 2014 sparked his love for ramen. “I had my first proper tonkotsu ramen in an East London ramen joint. The balance, complexity and delicacy of a hot bowl of noodles was otherworldly!” says Gois.

Fat Ramen: Bringing happiness in a bowl to Helsinki diners

A craving for ramen

In 2015, Gois and Sarpaniemi spotted a gap in the local restaurant market and opened Helsinki’s first ramen shop in the Hietalahti Market Hall. “As young entrepreneurs we wanted to bring something new to the restaurant scene. What would sell better than a hot bowl of noodle soup in cold and gloomy Finland? Otto and I were pioneers back then and I dare say we brought ramen to Finland,” says Gois. “Since then, many more noodle-driven concepts have emerged. The competition is a good thing as it offers customers options and keeps us on our toes. We are constantly striving to improve our product and be the best”

“Ramen might seem like simple dish, but it’s actually very complicated. We serve thin hakata-style noodles and specialise in two types of soups: a rich pork broth called tonkotsu and a vegan mushroom dashi. We put a lot of effort and time into what we do. Each noodle is hand pulled and all our stocks, sauces and toppings are prepared in our own central kitchen,” he adds.

Flavour harmony
Diners at Fat Ramen can enjoy an array of Japanese and broader Asian flavors that have a distinct Nordic touch, in a casual and relaxed atmosphere. Alongside ramen, guests can feast on the likes of bao buns, fresh starters made from seasonal vegetables, and mazemen, the noodle
dish without broth.

“We’ve recently launched ‘RFC’, our version of fried chicken where we coat chicken in a ramen powder and spice mix before frying. Apart from being super tasty, we bring our personal touch to the fried chicken scene by doing something different,” says Gois.

Fat Ramen: Bringing happiness in a bowl to Helsinki diners

Left: Owner and chef Marcos Gois.

The restaurants also pride themselves on changing the menu three or four times a year, while always retaining a few old favorites. Fat Ramen’s cauliflower ramen is a perennially popular dish during the summer season with vegan and non-vegan diners alike.

“The crowning glory of our restaurants is the range of the menu. All our restaurants are in beautiful locations where our guests feel pampered while enjoying delicious Japanese food with a Finnish influence. We are always aiming for a harmony of flavours in all our dishes,” says Gois.

Plans to open new venues are in the works, and the young restaurant group’s operating philosophy is to build a small chain without the stigma often associated with expansion. “In general, chaining is perceived to decrease the quality of the product where too many compromises are made, and semi-finished products are ordered directly from wholesalers,” explains Gois. “We don’t fancy this generic route. Each restaurant will always carry its own distinct vibe. The only things that need to be set in stone are the customer experience and the product itself.”

Fat Ramen’s team constantly strives to develop and improve on its already high-quality offering by producing everything themselves in their own central kitchen. “It’s the only way we can really ensure the highest quality possible,” says Gois. “Our food is very moreish. I think people can taste the dedication and attention we put into it, even though it’s a casual restaurant. We aim to be affordable so that guests can eat with us on a semi-regular basis. We welcome you to enjoy happiness in a bowl with us!” beams the owner.

Fat Ramen: Bringing happiness in a bowl to Helsinki diners

Web: www.fatramen.fi
Instagram: @fatramen
Facebook: fatramen
Tel: +358 10 3379870

Fat Ramen venues:
Hietalahden Kauppahalli
Keskusta Mikonkatu
Kallio Helsinginkat

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