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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

NOODLE BAR BONUS AFTER BAR SHOW BUST













I had my day all mapped out, well at least I thought I had.

I would spend the day at The London Bar Show, where attractive girls in short skirts or even shorter shorts would spend the day pouring rare and exotic spirits down my throat while I listened to the great and the good of the bartending world explain the origins of The Martini. I would come away with a goodie bag heavy with free booze and a liver buzzing the tune to “The Yellow Rose of Texas” and, I would be happy, oh so very happy.

Unfortunately, The current economic climate and the inability of the organisers of The Bar Show to organise a piss up conspired against me and, instead of my planned full day of boozing, I spent twenty minute wandering up and down the aisles of Earl’s Court 2 wondering where all the spirit brands were exhibiting while I waved away people asking me to sample energy drinks and electronic cigarettes.

There were some interesting demonstrations going on from people like Gary Regan but, with the noise from the stands of said energy drinks, I could hardly hear what was being said and, so after saying a quick “hello” to a couple of people I slunk out wondering what to do with the rest of my day.

Heading back to The West End, I got off the tube at Leicester Square and walked down Cranbourn St, that tawdry little road that links the Charing Cross Road with Long Acre. On the right, I spotted one of those small Chinese buffets of the sort that super serious food people like me walk passed with our noses so far in the air it is a wonder we are not looking in the other direction.

Except this time, I recalled that a Chinese colleague of HP’s had told him that a few months before the owner of the place had decided to do something a bit more original and, alongside the usual stuff, steaming away waiting for tourists, had brought in a chef to hand pull Lan Zhou La Mian noodles to order.

It didn’t look that promising and ducking inside, I saw two French tourists poking disconsolately at something day-glo orange on their plate. However, persevering, I looked at the menu and saw that they offered a range of dishes using the noodles from Northern China and for £6 ordered a bowl of Dan Dan La Mian with peanuts, sesame and shredded chicken.

I had to wait a while, the chef wanting to let his dough rest, but when it was deemed ready, he cut it up and then deftly flung it out until it had transformed from one strand to many, before plunging it in boiling water.

The end result was as good a budget lunch as I have tried in London for a long time. The noodles retained some bite and the broth, when spiced up with a liberal addition of chilli was nourishing and delicious. The price is, I imagine less than you probably spend at the Pret-a-Manger a few doors down on the same street. A real bargain.

I am not aware of too many people in London making hand pulled noodles to order, so this unassuming little café, called Zhen Zong Lan Zhou, is a little treasure and well worth a visit. The Bar Show on the other hand needs to show considerably more spirit before they can persuade me to go back next year.

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7 Comments:

Blogger Gourmet Chick said...

thoughts about people not being able to organise a piss up in a brewery (or in your case an exhibition shed) spring to mind

Wednesday, June 24, 2009 10:33:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Inn Noodle - on oxford st right by tottenham ct road tube entrance, also does fresh hand-pulled noodles and xiao long bao by hand.

despite it being recommended to me by a number of people, i found the soups very bland and the xiao long bao a bit average.

perhaps it was an off day..

Wednesday, June 24, 2009 1:06:00 pm  
Blogger Hermano 1 said...

My Chinese colleague told me that when she went there they hadn't got the broth right. There was too much Soy and Star Anise and not enough chilli. It should now be pretty authentic if you're after proper Lanzhou La Mian. Maybe this other place could do with a visit from her.

HP

Wednesday, June 24, 2009 2:06:00 pm  
Anonymous Grant T. said...

Thanks for the tip.I wish you guys would do more of these little hole in the wall type places,as you have the courage to go where most of us dare not.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009 2:24:00 pm  
Blogger Passport Foodie said...

Hand pulled noodles, while you wait. Absolutely fabulous!

I'll have to do some research to find a place in my area that does that.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009 5:53:00 pm  
Blogger Matthew said...

hmmm. just got back... had hot and sour soup with shredded chicken and prawns.. winner

Friday, August 14, 2009 2:08:00 pm  
Anonymous London Chow said...

Hey there, saw your review and went straight there for a bite. Turned out better than I expected though I thought they should do away with those bland fried noodles that they put up front and concentrate on handmade noodles instead.

C K

Sunday, September 13, 2009 12:54:00 am  

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