Restaurant review: The Noodle House
In its all-new avatar, the restaurant is the home of Asian soul
If you are missing travelling to the East lately for all its street delicacies, then The Noodle House closer home at Dubai's Palm Jumeirah could be a great pit stop.
Located on the first level of the new Nakheel Mall, The Noodle House in its all-new avatar has Asia written all over it. From the chic décor to the high-hanging lights to the giant LED projector screen, lights and shadow here combine magnificently to give you a warm welcome first up.
Once comfortably seated, the next big task is to choose from the brand-new menu. While the colours, font and style bedazzle you, it's the items - every single one of them - that tempt you with their ingredients and descriptions. And because they call it the home of Asian soul, they ask you to 'express your soul in a bowl' first by choosing a hot pot to begin with. How it works is: you pick a stock (from goji beef to roasted vegetable roots) for a wet noodle or pick a sauce for a wok finish, pick a noodle, a protein and vegetables, and voila! Your bowl is ready.
The best bit? You can fuse ingredients and dishes inspired by cuisines from Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore and even as far as Japan. You can tailor meals to suit your taste buds but whatever you do, you will never be away from experiencing the authentic Asian spirit. And to serve up that reminder, the friendly kitchen staff will get together every 15 minutes or so, to perform the Kiai, a loud shout out over a quick flash of fire to stir up your senses. Kiai, an integral part of martial arts, is a compound of the word ki that means "energy" or "mood". At The Noodle House, it is that little impromptu gig by the staff every quarter of an hour that makes dining here interesting.
But all those frills aside, it is the food that you should be here for - both the simple and the exotic kinds, including TNH's own version of the Peking Duck served with steaming pancakes, homemade hoisin sauce. And while you are at it, do give some of its amazing desserts a try before leaving. Each item is a true culinary fest of flavours and fruits - be it the coconut-themed crème Nut Brûlée or the spongy mango milk cake!
Taste (5): Taste is what will make you return to The Noodle House. We tried out a variety of dishes from almost every section and the only thing consistent was sheer good taste. The shrimp blaster or Asian battered home-made shrimps with creamy wasabi mayonnaise will pique your palate as will the Thai chicken cooked with lime-scented chilli sauce and roasted cashew nuts. Most other dishes will leave you satiated.
Ambience (4): The Noodle House's décor is urban yet earthy and well represents the 'home of Asian soul'. There's a giant LED projector that takes you on a virtual journey across the streets of Asia whilst you are tucking into that favourite roast of yours, lending the restaurant a very warm and casual atmosphere for a first-timer.
Service (5): Fast and friendly. If the team's service had to be summed up in a line, then this would be it. They will make you feel comfortable from the moment you have arrived until the moment you have stepped out. The food takes little time to arrive and whist you are waiting for it, the team will keep you engaged with either a charming conversation or a brilliant rendition of the Kiai every fifteen minutes or so.
Presentation (4): We ordered a quarter of their Golden Duck, The Noodle House's own version of the famed Peking Duck just to see what it looks like and were pleasantly surprised when it arrived - strips of the duck lined up neatly alongside juliennes of cucumber and leek. Even the desserts come with top presentation including their Japanese-inspired Tempura Brownie.
Value for Money (5): You could buy a hearty full course meal replete with starters, mains, desserts and special drinks on the side for two at The Noodle House for under Dh400 and come out fully satisfied with your spend.