This unassuming noodle bar blew my mind.
Specialising in hand pulled noodles aka la mian, the menu offers different types of soup bases and meat/seafood/veg in your preferred noodle size. Very thin, thin, regular, thick, ribbon and knife cut chunks.
I'd eaten here once before, about 6 years ago and I remember the noodles were really good. Second time round, I wanted to go for the regular sized noodles with braised beef. Nothing like starting a new eating experience with a classic.
The menu is huge, and between myself and A, we decided to share the noodle and order some side dishes.
The noodles are just sensational. They have such a great chewy bite to them, and are full of bounce. Talking noodle alone, this is one of the BEST I've eaten and surpasses all the ramen bars popping up all over London including Shoyru.
In case you're wondering why I'm dragging ramen into the subject, ramen is the Japanese word for pulled noodles, and la mian is simply the Chinese version.
The braised beef is another star. Beef brisket braised until it is tender with crunchy tendons and melty cartilage in a real homey style sauce. The spice levels of star anise amongst other spices was not as fragrant as I would have preferred, but no less, it was one good beef brisket. Oh and did I mention it was only £6.50?! Yeh.
Pork stir fried with dried tofu skin and peppers. Wow, the smoky peppers in a light, savoury and peppery sauce in contrast with chewy tofu skin was just too good. The pork was flavoursome and tender, but the veggies were such a delight that it didn't really need the extra meat.
Cumin lamb & pork belly skewers. Simply done with salt, cumin, sesame and oil. The pork belly was even better than the lamb, crispy with fat that melted on the tongue. £1.50 each, the prices are hard to find elsewhere in London.
Salt grilled wings. It had an amazing smoky taste to it.
From the outside, it's looks like a tourist-trap-cheap-Chinese-in-a-box type of joint. Whether intentional or not, the hot plates of sweet and sour gloop isn't the first think you think of when la mian comes to mind, but do not let that put you off.
Simple seating inside shared with other diners and polystyrofoam cups for your hot tea are not the best of dining ambience, but this delicious meal for 2 only set us back £25! And if you're serious about your food, these things will not deter you.
Magic noodle dough. Watching the chefs working away on the hand pulled noodles is a treat not to be missed.
33 Cranbourn Street