“I’m going to learn how to make curtains today.”

So says Justin Healy, founder of Quality Noods and new ramen shop, Dunfor Noodle Bar. They’re not the words you might expect from a chef, but they speak to his dedication to DIY. From the fit-out to the noodles, Healy and his team are doing it from scratch.

After a two-month reno, Healy and his business partners – bar manager Mit Lade and sous chef Beowulf Downing – have opened the doors to their new ramen bar on the corner of Pulteney Street and Hindmarsh Square next to newly opened vintage store, Room on Fire.

It’s been an all-in team effort: the trio, with help from designer and friend Tom Russell, have stripped back the old Deli on Pulteney space to a minimal aesthetic of stainless steel, timber and concrete. The window counter was repurposed from an old bookshelf upstairs. The floor was ripped up to expose the original concrete flooring, which mirrors that of Loc’s two doors down. When Broadsheet visits during a test run, a few finishing touches are still to come – outdoor furniture, a liquor license and those aforementioned curtains – but the shop is open for business.

For those who have spent their share of Sunday nights at Loc or the Exeter, Healy’s ramen needs little introduction; he’s been serving his soup through his Quality Noods pop-up for the past year (going forward, the Quality Noods name will remain for wholesale only). But the plan was always to open a shop of his own – spurred from an encounter with a Copenhagen ramen shop, Slurp, while he was staging at acclaimed restaurant Relae.

“[This] Swedish chef ... was doing it properly, but he was also celebrating really nice local ingredients at the same time,” he tells Broadsheet.

For Healy, ramen is a vehicle to showcase quality produce from ethical, regenerative local producers. He’s sourcing ingredients from Nomad Farms (pasture-raised chicken), Ngeringa (biodynamically grown vegetables) and The Dairyman (milk-fed, heritage-breed pork), plus other small producers. (Before launching Quality Noods, Healy worked with The Dairyman’s Michael Wohlstadt in the Barossa following several years cooking at Orana and Bistro Blackwood, where he met Downing.)

“It’s more a specialty ramen shop,” says Healy. “I’m not Japanese, so my ramen is going to be different to anyone’s who’s spent time in Japan or is from Japan. But I would say the difference is local and seasonal stuff, which is the most important thing to me, and really why this exists – it’s a platform for me to talk about those things.

“I’ve got a barrel of vermouth at BK’s [of BK Wines], which we’ll use as a substitute for sake and mirin. So [there’ll be] less imported ingredients. I’m really trying to find a seaweed supplier in South Australia, but no-one is really producing it for [consumption].”

For now, you can expect two types of ramen; a few snacks and sides, including beef tartare, potato salad and a fried-oyster po’ boy with shredded lettuce, mayo and a punchy vinaigrette; and steamed custard with fruit for dessert. He’ll soon introduce a plate of nukazuke pickles (an assortment of vegetables pickled in rice bran and salt). “It’s quite a strong pickle, quite funky – I really prefer it,” says Healy.

“And if we have extra noodles at the end of the night, we’ll fry them and dust them with a little house-made mami noodle seasoning.”

The firm, chewy noodles are made with Small World’s rye and whole wheat flour and Laucke bread flour and served in an umami-rich vegan broth (made from fresh and fermented vegetables) or a meat-based soup (made with chicken and pork). Healy says there’ll always be a choice of shoyu (soy) and shio (salt) tare (or, seasoning) and he’s looking at adding a miso tare, which can be vegan or meat-based.

The broths are super light: “Clean and clear flavours, nothing too overwhelming,” says Healy. “I don’t want you to leave and be absolutely buggered … I’d rather you finish it and be like, ‘Oh sweet, now I can go get a little Campari and kick on for the rest of the night’.”

The menu will remain fairly concise, while Healy and the team get used to their new surroundings and finish renovating the production kitchen upstairs (when it’s complete, they’ll make their own miso and soy, and mill their own flour).

Healy wants to eventually make the production kitchen a shared space for other small producers who want to level-up their facilities. He also plans to host kitchen takeovers with local chefs who want to flex a different muscle. “There’s a lot of people who work in the industry for bigger groups or a restaurant that has a certain theme and their passion is not that – their passion might be Mexican food or something like that. So I’d love to give them a platform on Sunday nights or Sunday lunches.”

There seems to be a recurring theme of Healy showcasing the work of others; the shop is also displaying artworks for sale by local illustrator Mads Cook. “After just two days of trade we’ve already had five or six inquiries about the works,” says Healy. “It’s a good platform for young or aspiring artists to hang work. As much as getting stuff permanently on walls is great, I’d rather have variety so that every time you come in not only is the food different but the art on the walls is different, too.”

About that changing menu: Healy plans to introduce a seafood ramen soon, made with produce from Goolwa Pipi Co and Coorong Wild Seafood. And he’ll likely add a broth-less ramen (abura soba) when the shop opens for lunch in summer. “It’s a bit easier to eat, it’s faster ... less splashy.”

In short, expect a constantly evolving menu.

When the liquor license comes through later this month, there'll be two tap beers from Bridge Road Brewers (a pale and a lager), sake, and, pending council approval, BYO from Loc (with a corkage fee of $15 per bottle). For now, you can choose between cans of Mischief Brew soda (including cola, tonic and ginger ale).

Dunfor Noodle Bar officially opens on Friday at 3pm.

Dunfor Noodle Bar
62 Pulteney Street, Adelaide

Hours:
Wed to Sun 3pm–late
Mon & Tue Closed

@dunfornoodlebar