The best food in South East Asia usually comes from a roadside street food cart or cramped hawker stall. In contrast Noodle House combines a selection of typical hawker staples in a sanitised setting, without the queues, and with table service.
Noodle House is a Dubai-based chain with branches from Moscow to Muscat. Yet this first UK branch is reminiscent of the upmarket shopping centre food courts you find in Singapore, where shopping and eating are the island-nation’s favourite activities. Dimly lit with cosy booth seating, complete with USB charging stations at each table, Noodle House would be one of the smartest examples.
The menu is a mishmash of chicken skewers, fragrant curries and stir-fry dishes. Despite the restaurant’s name suggested speciality, the kitchen has its types of noodles tangled up. Laksa, a popular coconut curry noodle dish, is usually served with thick rice vermicelli; on this menu it was described as paired with chewy hand-pulled noodles. But what actually came was pho-style flat rice noodles. Ingredient quality was otherwise good, though we found some of the flavours muted – this is Cambridge Circus, not Maxwell Hawker Centre.
There’s much to recommend Noodle House, from slick service to spacious seating. But the rule still holds true – the best South East Asian food comes from congested food stalls, cooked by tiny old ladies.
By Christine Yeo