Tag Archives: noodles

momofuku, New York

momofuku means ‘lucky peach’ in Japanese. As there’s no fruit to be seen in this popular restaurant, I can only assume the name refers to its customers – happy, juicy peaches that are lucky to be eating its noodles.

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We went to the original momofuku noodle bar on 1st Avenue and waited around an hour for a seat, guzzling wine by the window. Long wooden tables surrounded the busy bar and kitchen. The atmosphere was fun and lively.

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Some friendly New Yorkers recommended what dishes to choose from the menu, starting with one of the specials – yummy pork buns that made me want to cry with joy ($12).

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They came with a plate of Shrimp & Grits with Benton’s bacon, a poached egg and scallion ($14). This rich, buttery dish was a first for me and one I’d like to relive soon. I hear the Lockhart in Marylebone does a very good version (*dials reservation line).

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Big bowls of Spicy Miso Ramen came next ($15). Filled with smoked chicken, noodles, scallion and sesame, there was also a poached egg that delightfully broke with one prick of my fork, flooding the bowl with bright yellow yolk.

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We didn’t have room for dessert, but our waiter turned us with tales of the momofuku Milk Bar – a standalone bakery that produces weird and wonderful treats for each of the restaurants.

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This month’s focus was cookies, so we ordered a Milk Bar medley – ‘the ritz’ cookie, pretzel cake truffles and strawberry sweet cracker soft serve. I couldn’t eat the truffle – it was too sickly for my very sweet tooth. But the cookie made a perfect scoop for the creamy, sweet ice cream (she wonders why her jeans are too tight).

I’d go back to momofuku in an instant; it’s the original Ramen bar that made me feel like the luckiest girl in New York.

momofuku noodle bar, 171 1st Avenue, New York, ny 10003

Price 4/5 – Atmosphere 4/5 – Staff 5/5 – Food 5/5 

KERB, King’s Cross

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King’s Cross is enjoying a foodie revolution…or so I’ve been told. A train full of restaurants are due to open over the next year, which will join the likes of Shrimpy’s, Grain Store and Caravan. And then there’s KERB – a weekly concrete food market made up of stalls, bars and an old man playing summer dance tracks.

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Yesterday was one of the hottest days of the year, so an afternoon of eating, drinking and sunbathing was in order. KERB King’s Cross ticked all the boxes, so we headed there to stuff ourselves with yummy street food and lie by the canal.

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There are around twenty stalls at KERB, which boarder Granary Square. In the middle there are over 1,000 individually lit, choreographed fountains – a fancy concept that’s particularly popular with children looking to cool off.

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We did the rounds, before deciding on lunch. Heartbreaker Burger caught my eye, but I chose Vermicelli Vietnamese Noodles with Tofu (£6) from Hanoi Kitchen and a side of Sweet Potato Chips from Yu Kyu (£3.50).

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The chips were incredible – crisp and sweet, there wasn’t a trace of grease in sight. I’d gobbled each and every golden wonder before starting on the noodles, which combined fragrance, texture and heat, along with a little too much salt (possibly an overzealous helping of soya sauce).

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Miss Crump Eats had the same, but R decided on a pork and duck bap from Bill or Beak, which lived up to its long, long queue. She also chose a brightly coloured Whoopie Pie from Kooky Bakes (£3) – a pie so tasty, it put a smile on her face from the first bite.

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We sat on fake grass steps by the river and spent at least five minutes talking about how fantastic our city is. Cheesy yes, but true none the less.

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There are a few KERB Markets in London, but we chose KERB King’s Cross, Granary Square, London N1C 4AA. 

Tonkotsu, Soho

Saturday. 5.45pm. Soho. Queues were already forming outside London’s most popular restaurants. Even Herman Ze German felt full.

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We were hungry and time was precious. Not wanting to stand in the cold, we chose Tonkotsu – a Ramen restaurant with a thirty minute wait beneath a large, energy wasting turbo heater.

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Inside, the music was pumping and steam was bellowing from the open Ramen bar. We shared a long, wooden table and speedily ordered a plate of hot, salted edamame (£3.50) and homemade Prawn Gyoza (£5). The latter had a lovely flavour, but weren’t a patch on Mama Lan’s creations.

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Ramen wise, I chose Shimeji, Shiitake & Miso (£9) with an unhealthy added portion of pork . The sauce was rich, with half a semi-hard boiled egg, thick, silky noodles, mushrooms, bean sprouts, bamboo shoots and white, juicy meat.

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I had a flashback to Bone Daddies. The flavour was there, but my bottomless pit of a stomach couldn’t conquer it. I found the sauce too salty, too thick, too rich. I couldn’t handle it again – something my friends agreed on.

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Paying took forever; a stressful process made worse by our desperate need for fresh air. The staff were a friendly bunch, but my word they were slow.

Tonkotsu gets a LLE Rating of 5/10. I’d rather go to Koya for lighter noodles, delicate flavours and a more relaxed atmosphere.

Tonkotsu, 63 Dean Street, London W1D 4QG

A. Wong, Victoria

A. Wong is a man. A man who creates beautiful Chinese food, has given me somewhere to eat in Victoria and – most importantly – won’t make me pay through the roof to enjoy it.

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You’ll find his restaurant on Wilton Road, just ten minutes walk from the station. The smart, modern interior has a fashionable open kitchen that looks out onto al fresco seating. The food ranges from Dim Sum and Peking Duck, to noodles and regional Chinese dishes.

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Friday lunch started with a Prawn Cracker (£1.50) from the a la carte menu. When it arrived, I knew our meal would be special. This was no ordinary cracker. Instead, it was a magnificent, sesame infused cracker topped with crispy seaweed, spiced chutney, sweet chilli sauce and refreshing chunks of cucumber.

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Next came the Dim Sum. Clear Shrimp Dumpling (£1.30) with sweet chilli sauce and citrus foam made me wish for more, Pork & Prawn Dumpling (£1.30) burst with flavour, topped with a lovely piece of salty pork crackling, and a Quail’s Egg Croquette Puff (£1.75) was wonderfully original, enhanced by an egg cup of garlic oil.

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The Baked Roasted Pork Buns (£1.50 each) were different to the soft, fluffy Chinese buns I’m used to. Best described as a savoury doughnut, it came complete with a coating of sugar and a sweet, pork filling.

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Two bowls of Scotch Beef Rump Fried Noodles finished us off. Just like the rest, it excelled in flavour, with each silky noodle coated in a rich, gingery sauce dotted with pieces of beef, plenty of bean sprouts and bright green spring onions.

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Attention to detail sets A. Wong apart from other Chinese restaurants. The dishes are interesting and inventive – even prawn crackers get the special treatment.

Next time I’ll try the eight course ‘Taste of China’ menu, priced at a very reasonable, yet slightly strange, £38.88 per head. In the meantime, I’ll give A. Wong a LLE Rating of 8.5 / 10. 

A. Wong, 70 Wilton road, Victoria, London SW1V 1DE

A. Wong on Urbanspoon

Bone Daddies, Soho

Another day, another queue. This time for Bone Daddies in Soho. But the wait was bearable thanks to a ‘BD Fruity’ mocktail (passionfruit, mint and OJ), the buzzing atmosphere and blaring rock music.

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We were there for Ramen, but that didn’t stop us ordering a couple of snacks – warm, salted edamame and the best soft shelled crab I’ve had in a long time. Lightly battered, crisp and meaty, it came with a hot hot green chilli sauce that threw me into a long and embarrassing coughing fit.

Our affable waiter suggested we try Tonkotsu Ramen, made with spring onion, chashu pork and 20 hour pork bone broth, and Tantanmen, with sesame, chilli, pork mince, bok choy and chicken bone broth. He also took the time to find out what contained nuts so C didn’t end up with a side of adrenaline.

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Tonkotsu is known for its rich, fatty, intense flavour. For just 50p, you can take it to the next level with an extra shot of animal fat – something C quickly declined. Despite my earlier splutterings, I daringly went for spicy Tantanmen. K opted for the ‘lighter’ Sweet 3 Miso Ramen with corn, wakame (edible seaweed), butter (there’s a whole slab swimming in the bowl), chicken and chicken bone broth.

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My bowl was a sight for hungry eyes. Brimming with fatty stock, it contained oodles of noodles, fried minced pork, more pork (this time sliced), a long bok choy leaf, bamboo, bean sprouts and a deliciously soft boiled Clarence Court egg. Each flavour stood up for itself, which was suprising given the strong curried sauce.

C wolfed his down – no complaints there – but K, like me, left about a third. That’s not to say we didn’t enjoy it, but we could already feel indigestion creeping on.

The bill came to £20 each with tip. There was no alcohol involved, but we’d eaten ’til our bellies ached and been well looked after – despite the queue of hungry punters, no one rushed us out the door (*ahem… CHICKEN SHOP*). For being cool on so many levels, Bone Daddies gets a LLE Rating of 7.5 / 10.

Bone Daddies, 30-31 Peter Street, Soho, London W1F 0AT

New Fujiyama, Brixton

Are you a Wagamama lover living in Brixton? If the answer is yes, I’d like to tell you about a medium sized Japanese noodle bar called New Fujiyama as I’m pretty sure it’ll be right up your street. It’s impossible to say who inspired who, but New Fujiyama is the closest I’ve got to being in a Wagamama, without actually being in a Wagamama.

My friend J and I hadn’t planned to go to New Fujiyama last Monday. Instead, we stumbled across the busy restaurant after realising our beloved Brixton Village was closed. Although the menu was large, I honed in on my usual Wagamama dishes – Ebi Gyoza to share with J and my glass of wine, and Yaki Udon for main.

There is one word to describe the Ebi Gyoza and that word is delicious. To give you a bit more of an explanation, each little prawn dumpling was crispy on the outside, sweet on the inside, with a spicy soya sauce to cut through the grease.

I wish I could say the same about the Yaki Udon, which definitely didn’t blow me away. It’s not that there was anything fundamentally wrong with my choice, I still loved the fat noodles, mixture of shellfish and chicken, and sprinkling of ginger on top, it’s just that being a one-off noodle bar, I wanted it to be twenty times better than Wagamama. Instead, the dish didn’t leave an imprint in my food memory, so will probably get lost in a sea of Wagamama Yaki Udons.

New Fujiyama gets a LLE Rating of 6/10. I’d certainly recommend it to anyone out in Brixton on a Monday night as, even though it isn’t extraordinary, the food is still tasty and certainly fills a hole for a very reasonable price.

New Fujiyama, 5-7 Vining Street, Brixton, SW9 8QA

Mama Lan, Brixton Village

Considering how much I love eating, I’m slightly embarrassed to say that I only discovered Brixton Village for myself when The Boyfriend packed his things and moved to the end of the Victoria line a couple of weeks ago (just in case you’re thinking this is a sad story, his move didn’t spell the end of our relationship as we’re not quite at the ‘moving in together’ stage yet). Now I’ve been, it’s safe to say I’m hooked as you’d be hard pushed to find somewhere in London that is more exciting and atmospheric due to its eclectic mix of pop-up restaurants, vibrant live music and sometimes strange dramatic performances.

I intend to write many posts about Brixton Village, but as it’s Chinese New Year, I’ll celebrate the Year of the Dragon by dedicating my first to Mama Lan – a tiny Chinese pop-up run by supper club host and blogger Ning Ma, along with her boyfriend, father and mother (who I managed to capture in action on my rubbish camera phone).

The menu is refreshingly simple, divided into Noodle Soup, Beijing Dumplings, Street Snacks and Salads.  As it was a cold night and we’d spent the afternoon lugging the contents of The Boyfriend’s flat up two flights of stairs, we decided to order something from each part of the menu, starting with Beef Noodle Soup.

The soup had the warming effect we’d hoped for, with its well balanced spicy broth, satisfying helping of fat noodles and chunks of tender, juicy beef, supplied by the good old Ginger Pig. If we weren’t such pigs ourselves, this would have sufficed, but we couldn’t resist a helping of Pork and Chinese Leaf Dumblings, rolled to order in the open kitchen.

It may sound over the top, but the dumplings were probably the best I’ve eaten. Not only was the sweet pork filling addictively good, one side was fried ever so slightly to avoid a casing that’s so often soggy. If that’s not enough, to accompany the meal, we also had a bowl of Seaweed Salad with Toasted Sesame.

As much as I hate to say it, this was by far my least favourite part of the meal as it was unbelievably salty. However, as I enjoyed the other two dishes so much, I will give Mama Lan the benefit of the doubt as perhaps the saltiness is traditional, even if it’s not to my taste.

As we could bring our own wine, our entire meal came to no more than around £12.50 each, which is pretty outstanding given the quality of the food. I’m already looking forward to my next Brixton Village experience, but Mama Lan’s Beijing Dumplings will never be far from my mind.

Mama Lan, Unit 18, Brixton Village, Coldharbour Lane, Brixton SW9 8PS