Tag Archives: noodles

So’s Kitchen, Woking

I’m very slowly working my way around Woking, trying to find tasty independents to get fed and wondered if there was a decent Chinese in the area. I’d seen a Chinese restaurant called So’s Kitchen near Woking train station and after a little research that was wholly positive I suggested going for lunch. Stepping inside it was kinda refreshing not seeing the traditional red and gold interiors and was quite modest in comparison. The menu had classic dim sum, a lunch menu with both rice and noodle dishes then an a la carte menu, no surprises to catch you out and all pretty standard stuff.

Lunch started really well with dumplings – tasty pot stickers filled with pork and prawn, nicely charred on the bottom and polished off in a couple of minutes. The ha gau dumplings were juicy, lovely and translucent, however I’ve had plumper ones with more filling.

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Off the lunch menu there was a pork and rice dish that my husband fancied, the pork was of the char sui variety and tasty, however the rice was very very dry, I may be wrong but it’s like the rice was precooked, left to go cold so it loses moisture then used for the dish. I know this is often a method used to keep the grains separate but it did seem overly dry. I was, as always completely predictable with my choice – beef ho fun noodles! If I’m honest unless it’s a full on dim sum affair, being a creature of habit it’s what I ALWAYS order; they were ok, no more than that.  For me, a great beef ho fun has a delicate balancing act between soy and oiliness – too much oil makes it messy, too little makes it bland and dry. Finally the beef should be tender and soft. I love the oiliness of the dish, but these rice noodles didn’t have the glossiness, were a touch dryer and not as moreish.  It wasn’t saved by the seasoning either as it was lacking, the beef was bland and had lost tenderness.

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Overall it was ok, saved by the dumplings which was the highlight and I couldn’t fault the friendly and efficient staff. It was a bit of a shame, especially after reading lots of positive stuff on the web, I should probably revisit at some point, probably for the dim sum.

So’s Kitchen

1 White Rose Lane

Woking

Surrey

GU22 7AA

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sos-Kitchen/127966857252270

Noodle House

Last Thursday, I caught up with a couple of friends during the school Easter hols in the city centre’s Northern Quarter, which is definitely a hive of activity nowadays when it comes a night out. Not only was Nicky Minaj undoubtably doing what she does best on stage at the First Direct Arena, newly opened Bar Soba’s launch night was kicking off. However, more importantly for us, one of my two friends was involved in playing a gig at Verve bar on Merrion St!

The band (Sons of Great Men) wasn’t on till 10pm, and we were getting hungry, so I’d told my friend Lucy about Noodle House. She’s also a lover of Chinese food, and with it just being up the street from Verve, there were lots of plus points and sounded like a great idea. Being pretty late going in, around 9:30pm, we turned out to be their last customers, so understandably they were running low on a few things, in particular the roasted meats. 

I knew what I wanted even before looking at the menu; my go to dish beef ho fun, but they’d run out of ho fun noodles and could offer rice vermicelli as an alternative, which I was happy to go along with. Lucy first choice was the soy marinated chicken, but again they were running low and knowing there wasn’t enough for a full portion offered a selection of three meats; char siu, belly pork and chicken for the same price.

Having been a few times, one of the great things about this place is that it’s really informal, and the food is cooked and ready to go quickly! So it wasn’t long before we collected our food from the counter. With soft beef, silky noodles, the addition of a handful of beansprouts, sliced onion, carrot, spring onion and correct seasoning made me more than happy!! As far as Lucy’s food went, I think we were both taken aback by the more than generous portion size, it was probably enough for two people I’d say, especially with the rice and greens!! She finished about two-thirds and was completely spent!

 

I can’t remember how much eat dish was, but the total bill for 2 plates of food, a bottle of aloe water and still water came to £14.70. For tasty food, generous portions, decent service – a bargain! 

Dorshi supper club @ Northern Monk Refectory

Dorshi, the street food traders who hail from Dorset’s Bridport, even though I think of them as Leeds’ very own now, held a two day supper club at Northern Monk Rectory earlier this week. Much to the popularity of this duo, what originally was a one night only affair, quickly became a two-dayer.

Dorshi are certainly no strangers to Leeds, the past year or so they’ve garnered a loyal fan base who’ve fallen hook, line and sinker for their food, especially their dumplings, all due to their first residency at Trinity Kitchen. They’d been back up North in between Trinity Kitchen stints for Veg Out and Beacons festival too, it’s like they were keeping people on a metaphorical leash – carrot and stick come to mind; I should know I’m one of them! 

So during their six week turn in Trinity this month, Dorshi held a pop up showcasing their take on Asian cuisine using local, sustainable ingredients where possible. We were to be treated to a five course experience (£30), from the menu their pearl barley sushi stood out as this is what Dorshi first became known for, and also their hand-torn noodles, with lots of elements in the mix it would be interesting to see how it would all come together.

Start – Fresh catch of the day ceviche (cod), lime, garlic tempura flakes, pickled chilli strands, crispy purple kale.

Sushi – Vinegared pearl barley, oak smoked rainbow trout, dill-caper puree, spicy salad leaves.

Noodles – Hand- torn spelt noodles, braised chashu, crispy juniper-bacon squares, pickled shiitake mushroom, charred sprouting leaves, kale crisps, slow-poached egg, slow cooked dried chilli, grated black garlic, accompanied with a bowl of bacon-mirin dashi.

Jelly – Bergamot & Black Cow Vodka Jelly.

Tea – Birdhouse Sencha Tea and Black Sesame & Almond Squares.

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It was a great evening with lots of chat, one thing I love about supper clubs is that everyone who goes has bothered to buy a ticket, because they’re really into good food!

A real labour of love for Dorshi, after all the meticulous preparation, during service some dishes came to fruition just before serving, e.g. sushi rolls were assembled just before they were brought out!

I enjoyed every course, they were interesting and each had their own talking points. The hand-torn noodles was the star of the night, every element had its own place and identity in the dish, coming with diverse tastes, textures and temperatures. The accompanying bacon-mirin dashi was a winner too, the Japanese staple providing a savoury umami hit. Dorshi’s take on sushi, I loved! For me, the barley makes it really light and a great alternative, I may even have a go at making some at home with barley instead of rice now.

Also all of this was in the lovely Northern Monk Refectory, usually the stomping ground of The Grub & Grog Shop, it’s a great space and came with the perfect ambience and atmosphere for this type of event. I must add, just because I love them, it’s excellent any time of day because the The Grub & Grog Shop team do should a fantastic job too, and as I type I really want one of their bacon breakfast buns!!

http://dorshi.co.uk

http://www.grubandgrog.co.uk

http://www.northernmonkbrewco.com/the-refectory

Noodle House – Northern Quarter, Leeds

Last Saturday was a day for grazing – firstly with NOM‘s Memorable Banh Mi at Kirkstall Deli market, steadily working my way through Dorshi, Bundobust and Grub & Grog Shop at Veg Out, then finally onto dinner at Noodle House on Merrion Street!!! Haven’t heard of Noodle House? Neither had I until it caught my eye last week. Being the type of person who feeds off visual stimuli, I’d spotted a canary yellow sign that I knew wasn’t there the last time I walked past, taking a closer look I saw it said Noodle House and my eyes lit up…..an Oriental NOODLE HOUSE, YAY!!

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I pointed it out to my friend Alice like a giddy school girl, and as I was eager to know more we took a look at the menu. The first noticeable thing when looking in was Peking Duck and Roast Belly Pork (one of my favourites) hung up like they do in traditional China Town restaurants. On any Chinese menu I look for certain items; dim sum, this wasn’t that type of establishment (shame), Beef Ho Fun and Roast belly pork…ticks on BOTH counts! I went home that evening with the thought of trying both in the very near future!

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So as Saturday evening arrived the other half and I had planned to meet a friend, with the Noodle House as the chosen venue. Choosing food off the menu had never been so speedily done and when it came to ordering, it’s refreshingly basic – all orders are taken from the counter which links the kitchen to the dining room. Nice and simple.

The menu is divided into noodle soups (£4.50 -£4.80), roasted meats (£5 – £16), rice and meat combos (£4.80 – £5.80), Malaysian style dishes (£5.80 – £6.50)  and stir fried noodles £5 – £6). Larger groups could even feast on suckling pig (£122)!

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With egg noodles taking a big up decent chunk on the menu, it was good to know they make three versions in-house, two made with spinach and carrot.

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The informality continued as we helped ourselves to cutlery and condiments, with both soy and chilli oil available. I really liked the relaxed, informal feel of the place. The wait between ordering and food collection (from the counter) was short, the chef calls the dishes out and you go and pick them up. First up was the other half’s belly pork with rice, he was a little quick to order a large portion of pork with a side of rice, instead of the belly pork and rice combo. So when I brought it over he was a little surprised as the portion was pretty hefty and definitely enough for two. At my parents house we’d share this, amongst a whole host of other dishes!!

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Roasting their belly pork every day means freshness and juicy meat, it’s then hung up, carved to order and served cold. Even though it was served cold the fat was crisp and wasn’t too salty which I liked. The characteristic layering of fat/meat/fat immediately got me thinking of my mother’s yummy homemade roast belly pork.

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My Beef Ho Fun is the dish I ALWAYS order when I go to a Chinese restaurant. It’s a dish I’ve eaten since childhood, because my parents would order it every Sunday when we visited our favourite Chinese restaurant for yum cha. I love the succulent strips of beef combined with slippery rice noodles, which are oily, but the dish wouldn’t work without this slipperiness. Also cooked with a little red onion which was new to me, but I liked the mild sweetness it gave. A really enjoyable dish.

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If I can tear myself away from my favourite dishes I’ll try the noodles out next time. It’ll have to be Wanton Noodle soup, so I can compare to my own. Also I’l be looking to try their Chinese tea, which is my usual tipple. 

For two people – food and three soft drinks came to £20, including a tip.

The opening of Noodle House just adds to the resurgence of the city centre’s Northern Quarter. With the news of making Merrion Street, which is usually a rat run into a pedestrianised street, it’ll hopefully encourage more of an community culture and environment. Even though I use the road a lot when driving through town myself, I , like many others will have to plan out my journey with a little more thought. 

What’s your opinion on the Northern Quarter and the plans for pedestrianisation?

Noodle House
20 Merrion Street
Leeds
LS1 6PQ
0113 2433 940


Noodle House on Urbanspoon

NOM Deli UK @ Kirkstall Deli Market

The last Saturday of the month means Kirkstall Deli Market so I popped in to say ‘hi’ to a few people and check out what was going on, with it being a lovely sunny day the prospect of it being a busy one was high.

Within minutes of walking into the Abbey grounds I spotted a street food trader I’d not seen before called NOM Deli UK, so I immediately made a bee-line for these guys. Over the last few months the Vietnamese Banh Mi has slowing become one of the street food styles you’ll see at street food events and food markets, and currently there are two other traders serving up their version of it in Leeds.

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Run by Vietnamese husband and wife team Anh Dao and Minh Nguyen, who for the last ten years worked in quite a different field of financial services. Having missed authentic tastes of home, their search for it had come up short. Being brought up using techniques which had been passed down over generations, they decided to put their passion and knowledge into practice, setting up a business serving the authentic Vietnamese food they’d been longing to find themselves in Leeds.

The menu had a choice between Banh Mi or Bun noodles, with a choice of fillings or toppings; BBQ pork, fish, or tofu and mushroom. Regular readers may probably know that I don’t need asking twice when it comes to pork, so I had to try their BBQ pork Banh Mi baguette. Other fillings such as tofu and mushroom, suitable for vegetarians/vegans and a grilled fish version were also available.

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The pork patties are made from pork shoulder marinated in fish sauce and a caramelised syrup. To accompany the pork are a number of additional extras such as pickles, cucumber, home-made caramelised onion, chilli mayo and coriander with fish sauce to taste.

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Within a couple of minutes I walked off to chow down with this beauty of a sandwich. The quality of the bread is a fundamental aspect to a Banh Mi, when asked the name of the bakery this was information that would stay secret. I don’t blame them because they were spot on – crisp on the outside and a soft, chewiness inside.

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The whole thing was a sublime marriage of flavours and textures, with tender, flavourful meat perfectly at home with the extras providing a multitude of dimensions to this humble Vietnamese sandwich – crunch, sweet, sour, salty and warmth.

After the first bite I ran over to Sarah from Noisette Bakehouse who’d gone for the Grilled fish Banh Mi, this was equally as amazing and I would be pushed to say which I preferred the most. Saying that if I’d had more time the Grilled fish version would’ve been my choice for seconds. Regardless, they are definitely the best Banh Mi I’ve had so far in Leeds!

In addition to this, there’s exciting news with NOM planning to open their first Vietnamese deli on Great George Street soon, so bang in the city centre Leeds folk will be able to get their hands on their Banh Mi, Bun, and probably much more. I have a sneaky feeling I won’t be able to wait for Kirsktall Deli Market each month to get one of their Banh Mi!!

Bring on the Banh Mi!

NOM Deli UK
@NomDeliUK
https://www.facebook.com/NomDeliUK
Great George Street (Opening soon!)