The first lovely thing you notice about this tiny Chinese restaurant is its shape. What looks, as you step through door, like a boxy little room off the Euston Road, curves gently outwards as you walk to the back. Go at lunchtime for the best view: there are skylights in the sloping ceiling and long windows slice up the white walls, flooding the place with light. All you can see out of these windows are trees, giving this no-frills spot an airy, open feeling.
The food is Northern Chinese, flavours are bold, and everything comes very fast, with no ceremony. The highlight of the wipe-clean menu was a deep bowl of hand-pulled noodles topped with pak choi, delicate omelette and braised pork. The pleasure of this dish lies in disentangling great mouthfuls of flat and wonderfully slippery noodles, and chasing the hunks of fiery, addictively sour pork. Also delicious was the speciality pork ‘murger’, which Murger Han describes as the Chinese equivalent to the Western hamburger. Slipped inside a sheet of greaseproof paper, it’s a sweet, wheatflour bun stuffed with deliciously greasy, salty, oozy meat. And at £5, it’s a bargain. Thick homemade dumplings served in spicy soup was another lip-smacking hit – the clear broth seasoned with seaweed and tiny dried prawns.
Murger Han has another branch in Mayfair, which is unexpected, because part of this restaurant’s great charm is its simplicity. Tap water is served in chipped white mugs, prices are low and the focus stays firmly on the food. As it should do. And that focus pays off – on my visit Murger Han was completely packed with regulars, eating lunch under the skylights in the sunshine.