Tang London (Noodle Bar)
Snuggly nestled between YMCA gym and 24-hour cafe and diner, VQ, Tang London, though independently operated and managed, is actually part of St Giles hotel.
Inspired by the far-East, this five-month young eatery is beautifully decked out with dark ceilings, warm lighting, brown tiled walls with one side decorated with ornamental bowls and metal tea pots, and the other festooned with small photo frames depicting the Orient and its people from yesteryear, all of which is effectively tied together (no-pun intended) with a simple wooden ceiling centrepiece made up of dainty little chopsticks hanging from knotted ropes.
As a noodle bar, the menu is simple and uncomplicated, with dishes that are entirely organic and gluten-free.
Kent Pear Juice with Ginger is the best of the Owlet drinks we sampled. With the strong flavour of the pear being well complimented by the subtleness of the ginger, not only was this a deliciously refreshing drink, but also worked as a clever palate cleanser.
As for the Kent Apple Juice with Elderflower then the elderflower came through well enough without blowing us away.
The Black & White Tofu cubes, with their crunchy exterior and ever so soft and crumbly interior, were super light, and went so well with the zingy Miso Sauce – garnished with sesame seeds and small slithers of spring onion – which was strong and heady with just the right level of heat to it.
The non-greasy, tender Fried Chicken was almost as impressive, with a far crunchier outside that needed the Hot Sauce, whose heat grew progressively stronger over time, to keep you interested.
This Cold Noodle Salad had a wonderful array of textures and flavours going on.
Perfectly balanced and with a lovely, lemony undertone to it, the crunchy slices of sweet pear and cucumber, coated by the yokey richness of a sesame-garnished semi-boiled egg, went extremely nicely with the subtle sweetness and chewy texture of the tiny goji berries.
Quite something this.
A summer starter if ever there was one. The wheat noodles in this well-textured Bean Sprout Salad were chilli-based with a heat that effectively built up in quite a hurry. The crunchy bean sprouts let off enough water to sufficiently lubricate the dish.
In the end though, the entire thing was all a little too subtle in taste.
The same type of chicken and hot sauce as the above, except that this time, these were presented in some wondrously soft and slightly chewy mini-buns sprinkled with freshly chopped spring onions. Very tasty indeed!
Beautifully soft and succulent flavourful beef chunks with large sprigs of coriander and crunchy slices of cumcumber. Superb!
These Crispy Tofu Buns just about worked, we’d say. Once again, the texture of the tofu was flawless, and went well with the subtly flavoured herb sauce.
In all, while one Lion voted the chicken as his choice of preference, the remaining two swore by the braised beef.
As per usual, the beef in this rice concoction was slow cooked and, thus, extremely soft, tender and well flavoured via the sweet soya sauce. However, the rice, though properly cooked, didn’t quite have the intensity of flavour we were hoping for. The whole thing just needed that little something extra to lift it all.
Chicken Tang £9
With the refreshingly strong aroma of ginger, the intensity of this Chicken Tang’s broth was quite something. Though mainly ginger-based, the subtle notes of sweet and sour along with the gentle heat therein made for a very soothing and delicious bowl of food. The tender chicken, the semi-bowled egg – again garnished with sesame seeds, the noodles, the fresh crunchy pak choi, and plentiful spring onions, all combined to give this well-balanced dish both texture and body.
One to have for certain, particularly if you have the sniffles.
The saltiness of this dish was well tempered by both the broth, which tasted of a mixture of mushrooms and lime, and the sharp hit of sweetness from the chewy goji berries. The mild heat also worked well, while the tofu successfully managed to maintain its crunchiness.
In the end, we were all agreed that the Chicken Tang stood head and shoulders above its competition, with two Lions voting the Salted Veg & Tofu second best.
- YES/ YES
And if this isn't reason enough, then we'd highlight the Chicken Tang and the Cold Noodle Salad as additional reasons to take that sharp turn off Tottenham Court Road.
And you wouldn't think, given how efficient and uber-friendly the staff were (our waiter was exceptionally helpful and patient with our incessant questioning), that this establishment is the owner's first restaurant.
It is true that pork is also on the menu; but we were told by the owner, Chen, that to ensure zero cross-contamination, the general preparation of the food took place in St Giles hotel's kitchen, which Tang London is associated with, before being brought over and completed in the restaurant's kitchen.
Word of warning though, this place only deals in chopsticks, to the point that even those who are entirely challenged in its use, are provided with an easier-to-use version of chopsticks, though chopsticks no less! But, as they say, "When in Rome..."
With a capacity of 38, we can imagine this place getting busy, particularly during the lunch time rush hour (lunch time deal: 1 noodle & 1 drink for £10), in a hurry.
Tang London is essentially a walk-in restaurant with reservations only taken for eight or more people. Take aways are available for those in a hurry; delivery is made through Deliveroo; and a 25% discount is offered to all YMCA gym members.
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