It’s always interesting to judge a restaurant when it makes a comeback in a new avatar. The Noodle House has always been on our radar as one of the better places in the city for good, affordable and comforting South East Asian food so when it recently relaunched in a new avatar at Madinat Jumeirah, we were certainly curious about the change.
The good news is that the new, upgraded version is very fetching and far spiffier than the earlier one. It is licenced so there are some great cocktails and grape on the menu. Yay to that! Also, it now has an appeal of a cosy fine dine with some nice views of Madinat. In a nutshell: the interiors and ambiance look much cooler and quite inviting.
Now, the important part – the food. We loved the way it has been segmented and explained. Starters that take inspiration from Thailand, Indonesia and Japan, two different noodle sections – wet noodles and wok fried, treats from the streets (such as spring rolls, satays and a tempting wasabi beef roti) and Umami. It helps a diner understand the cuisine rather well so thumbs up to the idea. Plus every item sounded really exotic and worth a try. Who wouldn’t be tempted by crispy roasted duck, black pepper beef, sesame tofu and so on?
The choice there fore was rather difficult but we decided to go for the tried and tested Wasabi prawns to begin with. If you got this one right, you generally got the rest right. And we weren’t wrong. I loved the sting of the wasabi and the crispiness of the batter fried prawns. The mango salsa accompanying it was just right and altogether, the flavours were tantalising.
The crispy duck was fabulous too. Superbly grilled duck juliennes served with hoisin sauce, cucumber, leeks and steamed pancakes alongside a bowl of fresh, red chillis made for a tempting dish. I enjoyed rolling up the pancake with the duck, adding the sauces and the veggies finally topping it with the fresh chillies – the slight sweetness of the hoisin was a sharp contrast to the chillis, the crisp fresh veggies and the soft duck complemented each other well. Supremely satisfying.
What followed, unfortunately was problematic. We had high hopes from the soft shell crab bao. But not only were the crabs oily, the meat lacked flavour. Which was hugely surprising because soft shell crabs absorb the essence of whatever you add to it, so well. The miso salmon was another disappointment. The grilled salmon tasted overcooked when it should ideally have been poached. The noodles were fine but the miso dashi broth was too sour. The combination of flavours simply didn’t suit our palate.
Soft Shell Crab Bao
However, the coconut and pandan crème brulee that ended our meal was quite spot on despite the mix of cuisines. We will definitely visit The Noodle House again for the menu has been curated very interestingly. If the few rough edges are ironed out, it can be a prime spot for South East Asian soul food at Madinat.