The Noodle House on Shaftesbury Avenue
It’s a rainy Monday evening, as I head towards Shaftesbury Avenue’s Cambridge Circus, to the newly opened Noodle House restaurant. Although it’s always hectic with tourists I love this area, it’s vibrant Soho, theatre land and China town make this district buzz even on a dark, wet night. Over the years I’ve found a few favourite restaurants in China town, my Uncle married a girl from Hong Kong, and most Saturday’s she would take me try out a new Dim Sum restaurant.
So with the opening of The Noodle House on Shaftesbury Avenue I was keen to try their new Asian fusion menu, and see what it has to offer Londoner’s. It’s conveniently located close to Leicester Square tube on Shaftesbury Avenue and great for a pre or post theatre supper. It’s also next door to Covent Garden a hip place to hang out afterwards for a few drinks or spot of late night shopping.
The restaurant is quite empty when we arrive, but began to fill up as we settled in for the evening. The menu is essentially an Asian fusion menu covering dishes from China with Dim Sum to Thai dishes with the standard staple Chicken Satay, their tagline ‘Flavours of South East Asia.’
The interior is contemporary and stylish, and feels warm with its modern style wooden tables around the edge of the restaurant and a sprinkling of modern booths and open kitchen on the ground level. Downstairs is a hidden gem with an amazing bar area and stylish toilets (design wise I might have the bar upstairs).
The restaurant’s bolthole basement bar which holds a unique drinks list designed by creative Indonesian brothers, and Metro’s Young British Foodie winners, Platterform. Glass jars brimming with the beautiful Damask Rose, Goji Berry, Chrysanthemum, Lychee, Kaffir Lime and White Peony loose teas line the walls around the horseshoe-shaped bar where mixology masters blend, steep and brew them with exotic fruits and spices to create their own range of bespoke syrups and spirits. Apothecary bottles and jars of varying shapes and sizes – Spiced Tea Gin, Lapsang Souchong Rum, Star Anise and Kaffir Lime Gin, contain homemade concoctions that are exclusive to the noodle house. Their signature cocktail, Moonshadow, of Jasmine Lillet Blanc and vodka over frozen Jasmine and Hibiscus tea ice pops, don’t mind if I do!
We start with a shared selection of starters – Har Gou (King Prawn) steamed dumplings, Chicken satay sticks and peanut sauce, unfortunately the chicken sticks were overdone and therefore tough and the dumplings were too doughy we move onto the mains with more hope.
We opt to share again and go for a traditional thai green chicken curry with jasmine rice, steamed seabass wrapped in banana leaf with steamed greens and a mee gerong with prawns, chilli and pak choi.Pleasingly the mains are extremely good, with fresh ingredients and great flavours. The seabass is meaty fresh, no bones and steamed perfectly, with subtle hints of lemongrass and thai flavours. The mee gerong noodles were also very tasty with just the right amount of chilli and lots of succulent King prawns and pak choi. All very good but the piece de resistance was the thai green curry ,filled with marinated tender chicken pieces and aubergine, the curry sauce was moreish, so much so I couldn’t stop going back for one more spoonful.
We also opt for some freshly squeezed juices and jasmine green tea, which are very good and are inspired by ancient teahouses, the restaurant uses a wide variety of hand-picked, single-estate, artisan produced teas, ethically-sourced directly from tea gardens across Asia by LuLin. Black teas, Oolong, Green and White teas, beautiful blooming teas and caffeine-free tisanes are all readily available in a total of 17 blends, seven of which are unique to the noodle house.
The influence of the teas delicate flavours can also be seen in select dishes on the menu as well as in innovative soft drinks and cocktails including the superfood-charged mocktail Dr Taja; a blend of Aloe Vera, ginger, lime, ginseng and oolong tea… I’m in!
I’d recommend this as a great respite during the week for lunch or dinner,the bar is definitely a great asset and worth thinking about for somewhere new to go for drinks as it’s quite funky and fun and service by the staff is good, nicely attentive and thoughtful, which is always appealing and stands out in a fast moving restaurant world
Address: 117 Shaftesbury Avenue, London, WC2H 8AD
Telephone: 0203 725 5777