Ramen Dayo Finnieston, Argyle Street, Glasgow

Take this from me. If you ever see an exclamation mark at the end of a restaurant’s name it signifies you’re in the land of the lethally bright, alarmingly breezy and downright damnably dangerous.

I realise this eternal truth the fifth time a waiting personage suddenly pops up from nowhere and says: “Everything OK!”There’s an exclamation mark in my head too but this one’s got a bad sweary word attached to it.

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That’s because the first three times I am asked I’ve literally just plopped juicy Chicken Karaage – thigh meat, crispy crumbing – completely into my mouth and have to answer through it: mweh! myuss! mhhanks!

The last two times though I have turned to face my Piri-kara Moyashi (beansprouts in soy, vinegar and chilli) on the bench table and am soaking up the restaurant life right below this mezzanine perch, whilst deep in thought.

Glasgow Times: Ramen Dayo Finnieston Ramen Dayo Finnieston (Image: gordon terris)

I don’t even hear them coming up the curved staircase behind me: “Hello! Everything OK!” Ooyah! Jeezo, I splutter, muttering “yes” with the pronounced tic that is now developing above my left eye.

Now, this is Valentine’s Day, 5pm-ish, and love boat after love boat is tying up at the tables below so yes they’re busy in here and yes they’ve not forgotten the single guy – polyester suit-wearing weirdo wallflower – up here in the rooftop seat.

So they’re being nice. They’re doing their jobs. But they are also being nice in such a hurry that they just barge the question out.

And they don’t care what you’re doing. I’m now scared to go to the toilet in case they boot the door in and roar: “Everything OK!” Frankly? Dom Joly needs to get in on this. The thing is they don’t even need to ask: I already like this brand new Ramen Dayo! that’s just sprung up on Glasgow’s eternally vogueish Finnieston Strip. So do others.

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“Ooh, cute,” a lady says loudly behind me as she and her man slide into their mezzanine date-night berth.

On hearing this I instinctively lift my head from my giant bowl of New Wave Tokyo Style Ramen, sending slippery, slurpy, very wheaty tasting, noodles uncoiling viciously and lashing fragments of nori and spring onion into deep space, simply to see what she’s talking about. It’s nothing. Well, everything. The paper lanterns, the string lights, the Japanese signage everywhere, that stacked row of manga comics high above the kitchen, the whole buzzy, slightly beardy atmo of this joint just works.

I can feel it bumping along on the rhythm of life. And it is kinda cute too, cartoonish even and yes there’s also an open kitchen right down there which we customers can look right onto and see Katsu Dayo! being assembled. Exciting! I’ll tell you what: they can crumb and fry a piece of chicken quite deftly in here.

Their chicken katsu sauce is indeed aromatic, possibly fruity though I’m not sure about that, but the Fukujinzune pickles cut sharply and sweetly across the whole shooting match. OK, if you read the PR blurb, and it’s on every menu, they’ll have you believe that their secret sauce is the Ramen broth, lovingly poured over, years of research, trial and error. Yawn. Frankly, they all say that.

The Ramen joints, I mean. This broth is just fine, no more, and I asked for it to be given extra oomph. But the steamed chicken that’s in it is tender and very delicious, the soft-boiled egg (£2 extra) may well have come straight out the ice bowl, but it still zings then soothes and only the crispy fried garlic (50p extra) actually disappoints.

It’s pale, not even slightly crispy and tastes way, way too powerful.

Glasgow Times:

I finish up anyway by munching Menma bamboo slices and trying and work out whether they’re meant to be this insipid while my phone shazams what that jazz is on the sound system.

Answer to the first question: genuinely not sure. Answer to the second: Lisa Simpson?

What am I saying overall? I think I like this place. But watch your back.


Ramen Dayo Finnieston

1126 Argyle Street



Open: seven days closes 11pm

Menu Togarashi fries, Edamame Pumpkin Korokke, lots of Ramen with their special broth, Katsu Dayo and you’ve seen this movie already haven’t you? 3/5

Service: fast, friendly, a bit over-enthusiastic at times but all good. 4/5

Price: hey nobody does starters anymore: sides hover around £5.50, snacks will bump you £3 and up, Ramen are firmly in Ramen land at £11 to £12, all pretty much okay. 4/5

Atmosphere: Forget the lovingly prepared broth hoop-la this is their secret sauce, cartoonish feel , with illuminated signs, paper lanterns, tight corners, which I liked, and even some bearded people. 5/5

Food: The cooking is clean, crisp and while it’s hard for me nowadays to get too excited about ramen and broth, or even another chicken katsu, it didn’t disappoint. 6/10

Total: 22/30