I was recently targeted by an ad on Instagram for a new popup noodle restaurant. Given my love of Asian food, I decided I must try it and wasn’t let down. Below are my thoughts about the experience.

The Concept

On select nights, NoodsJoint hosts a noodle evening at a secret location for a select number of guests. Pre-payment is essential. The venue is shared with people who have booked one day before the date. Upon arrival, you are escorted to your reserved table. Guests can choose from chicken, beef, or vegetable options of a very generous portion of Asian ramen.

My Experience

I loved how social the experience was. While you can book on the website, I booked via WhatsApp. What I appreciated about this approach was that I could interact with an actual person and the fact that it was on an app I use all the time – it was convenient. As the date approached, I was sent a link to pay for the booking, which was quick and easy. The day before the booking, the location was then shared.

The venue was a warehouse in the west of Joburg. The setting was great with food trucks and tables set up with rope lights and vibey music (the playlist was on point 👌🏻). The staff were friendly and welcoming, with the founder of NoodsJoint even doing the rounds to greet and chat at each table. This level of service and interest in socialising with patrons is rare and was a refreshing change.

While the food was already paid for with the booking, various beverages were available to purchase at the drinks truck. Once settled, we were asked which of the noodle options we wanted. The bowl was massive and filled to the brim! The noodles were accompanied by various Asian vegetables in broth. The portion was so much that we couldn’t finish and ended up asking for a takeaway.

It was an awesome and unique experience from beginning to end.

Interview with the Head Honcho

NoodsJoint Founder, Alexandre Torrao

After having such a great evening, I reached out to the NoodsJoint founder, Alexandre Torrao, to get more information about this one-of-a-kind experience. Alex’s story is very interesting. He lived in China for several years and, even though he now resides in South Africa (SA), he still calls Macau his hometown. As it was expensive to start a business in Macau, he moved back to SA about 11 years ago to explore opportunities in the entertainment and hospitality sector. Below is more about how NoodsJoint came about.

What was the inspiration behind NoodsJoint?

“Inspiration for NoodsJoint came from the years I spent in Asia and China (Macau). As a multicultural city, I was struck by the amazing flavours that I had never before experienced. Noodles were the peoples’ food and I adopted this staple as my own! So I would say NoodsJoint is an omage to my Asian heritage.”

How long have you been operating?

“Since February 2022.”

All interactions with the NoodsJoint crew were pleasant and engaging. It’s clear that they are passionate about what they do, which comes through in their demeanour and the food. Tell us a bit about the team.

“Our Crew is amazing! David, Josh (the worst Host in the world 😜), Mama, Ndaba, our Barman, and recently joined Evan all have different backgrounds. They first started with me in my food truck business Eighty8sFood and they know that I am always looking at the next thing. The crew is amazing and a big part of NoodsJoint fabric!”

In which cities/provinces do you operate?

“We are currently only present in Joburg, however, we are exploring opportunities for countrywide expansion. Stay tuned!”

Is the venue for NoodsJoint always the same?

“Our venue, for now, will be our secret warehouse, however, as we grow the brand, we will be moving the venue.”

Why is the location a secret?

“The location is secret because we want people to engage with the brand. If we disclosed everything it would take the mystery away from the experience. We are in the business of creating experiences and this is part of the ethos of the brand.”

What has the reception from the public been like?

“The public has been amazing, everyone has been super receptive to our business model, from how you book to how you pre-pay and, of course, to the execution on each evening. We are nothing without the public, and we honestly want to impress more people each and every time.”

Closing Thoughts

NoodsJoint is a fun experience. The food and atmosphere are also great, and the secrecy around the location of the venue adds an exciting dimension. If you’re looking for something different to do for dinner, especially as winter is approaching, NoodsJoint won’t disappoint.

Follow NoodsJoint on social media to see upcoming dates: