Umami - Restaurant review and musings on a trip to London - The Noodle Hous,, Shaftsbury Avenue , London

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Restaurant review and musings on a trip to London - The Noodle Hous,, Shaftsbury Avenue , London
Author: Michelle Dalley

Date of visit – 24/4/14

I love, love, love London.  So the option to meet a client in very central London is an absolute joy, even if that means a 4.45am start.  London is a sensory delight – the sights, the smells, the noise is all consuming.  Exciting and invigorating, although by the end of the day usually exhausting.

A huge part of any London trip is the opportunity to enjoy the cuisine, check out an old favourite or try somewhere new.  I am always on the lookout for a delicious cortado in an independent coffee shop, I can get a Starbucks, Costa etc. any old day of the week locally.

So on this particular day I stepped off the train in Euston at 7.15am with a spring in my four inch heels and the need to experience.  As a reward for my uber early start I started at The Wolseley, my favourite place to eat when in Town.

As a social media fan I tweeted to see if The Wolseley could squeeze me in, unbooked, for breakfast and they came back and said they would do their best.  I am not sure who is running their social media, it feels like it is in house, they do a terrific job.  Just like the restaurant.  THAT is what branding is all about!

The Wolesley has been the place of many celebrations including birthdays, client meetings, hangovers, my baby shower and then my 40th birthday and wedding breakfast both on the same day.  The service is always excellent, the energy feels electric but somehow calming and that was exactly what I needed to prepare for a final meeting with a BIG new foodie client…more about them in a blog to follow.  Breakfast was a delicious cappuccino with poached eggs on seven seed bread. I was set up perfectly for my 9am meeting and headed off to the IOD bright eyed and smiling.

The meeting was excellent and we shook hands with our new client on an eighteen month contract, more to follow in a blog very soon.

Feeling happy and enjoying the sunshine I walked up from Pall Mall through Trafalgar Square onto  Leicester Square and up to Shaftsbury Avenue to enjoy an early lunch (well I had been up early!) at a new restaurant that I had been recommended to visit.  The Noodle House on Shaftsbury Avenue has only been open one week and it still had that slightly giddy feel about it, plenty of staff, plenty of enthusiasm.  This is the first UK outlet for The Noodle House group which originates in Dubai and I was recommended to go and do a secret shopper visit by friend Jason Pettit, Exec Chef for the group now living out in Dubai.  Jason had been over in the UK the week before but sadly we could not meet up due to diary commitments, but I promised I would take a look.  Jason and I met when he was Development Chef for Wagamama and I was his Account Manager at M&J Seafood.

So, what you really want to know is…was The Noodle House any good?  In a simple word – ABSOLUTELY.

The restaurant is beautifully finished, the style is simple but somehow feels familiar.  I was looked after by a fab waiter called Stefan Menaul, an American jobbing actor working in the heart of the West End.  It was difficult to believe that the restaurant had only been open for a week, he knew his stuff and was comfortable to recommend dishes and a glass of rose to go with it (I was celebrating).  I decided on two small dishes, one of which was easy to choose – Crispy Calamari which was sublime and the second was an Asian Salad which packed so many flavours.  Both dishes were spot on and moreish and worked brilliantly with the rose.

I asked the trick question “Is this like Wagamama?” and Stefan effortlessly answered that it was more of a pan Asian restaurant rather than just noodle led.

I munched the food very happily and took in the atmosphere as the restaurant started to get busier.  Mindful of a train to catch I asked for the bill and introduced myself as a friend of Jason, I also told the team I had Facebooked Jason pics of the food and he was pleased it was all “on brand”.  Nice work! I really liked The Noodle House, when you are in that part of London it is so easy to get caught up in a chain restaurant or just simply bad, over priced food.  The Noodle House was really well priced and over delivered on expectations for me.  With the receipt came a tea bag to take away with a little stamped tag – “make tea, not war”.

Should you go to The Noodle House – absolutely! However there is one problem for me…I live way too far away to go in and feed my Noodle House squid addiction.  Therefore can someone (Jason) please arrange for one in Bristol or Cardiff and can the Umami team be part of the design team please?  Go try The Noodle House and let me know what you think.

Blog by Michelle, ever so slightly addicted to squid.

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