This might be a new name in London but, in fact, The Noodle House is the premier restaurant brand of Jumeirah Restaurants LLC, which was launched back in 2002. It gained momentum and now has 16 outlets in the U.A.E, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, as well as Cyprus and Pakistan. It’s now a deliciously welcome addition to London’s casual dining scene.
The majority of restaurants might be in the Middle East but the flavours are very definitely from South East Asia. There have been a few such restaurants opening in the city over the past couple of years. It indicates that there is a ready market for delicious plates with Asian vibe at reasonable prices and in a comfy environment.
The location near London’s Soho and iconic theatres is perfect for workers’ lunches, peckish tourists, and dinners for those who want to relax and meet friends over food and perhaps a cocktail or three. It has broad appeal and a pan-South East Asia menu. In short there is something for everybody.
Perhaps we could call this fast food but that would give the impression of pre-cooked and mass-produced horrors, likely served in a fluffy bun. This is food that happens to arrive at the diner’s table in a matter of moments. That’s where the similarity to the OTHER fast foods ends.
The restaurant offers seating for every social need: window seats for visitors – they have an unrivalled view of the flow of humanity (or near-humanity) along Shaftesbury Avenue; there are quiet nooks for those in the first flush of love, and larger tables for families. There is the animation of the open kitchen and the buzz of conversation as diners muse over the dishes on offer.
It’s called Noodle House but there is much more on the menu than Asian pasta. The options are diverse and represent several of South East Asia’s renowned food destinations, including Singapore which is famed for its food courts. There are both spicy and aromatic choices but all of them are beautifully and thoughtfully presented.
Black Pepper Beef is an absolute must-try at The Noodle House. It’s dark and glossy strips of beef sirloin with peppers and onions in an outstanding black pepper and Kway Teow sauce – that’s a soya-based sauce often used with rice noodles in Singapore and Malaysia.
Javanese Nasi Goreng is a plate of wok-fried rice with prawns, chilli, spring onions and Sambal Belachan, topped with a fried egg, served with two chicken satay skewers and prawn crackers. The dish is from Java but the sambal is Malay – a mild and satisfying dish. There are more condiments on the table that also work well with the rice. I noted that the egg was perfectly cooked with a creamy yellow yolk that bathed the rice.
Pad Thai is ubiquitous in South East Asian restaurants around the world. In fact it’s more popular in those restaurants than it is in South East Asia itself. It’s a pile of rice noodles, beansprouts, eggs, and chilli and tamarind sauce. The Noodle House presents their version with the peanuts in a separate dish. We had the prawn and crispy tofu option. The tamarind adds a sharpness that is distinctive and a foil to the tofu which is a carrier of flavour rather than having much of its own.
The Noodle House is worth more than one visit to explore the menu, and I hear they do some amazing cocktails in the basement bar that is becoming the haunt of those in the know. I‘ll return with pleasure and an appetite.
12 noon – 10.00pm – Monday – Tuesday
12 noon – 11.00pm – Wednesday – Saturday
12 noon – 9.00pm – Sunday
Phone for reservations on: 020 3725 5777
The Noodle House London
117 Shaftesbury Avenue
London WC2H 8AD
Restaurant review by Chrissie Walker © 2018