Yang’s & Noodlee – Chinese – Nottingham
As the temperature plummets a lunchtime sandwich often really doesn’t cut it. But where do you go? Something warm and cheap(ish) if required…. but not unhealthy when you were meant to be good in January. Look no further than the likes of these establishments who I think fit that bill. They are remarkably similar in their simple but modern aesthetic and no frills approach. Both are located not far from the market square but slightly off the beaten track, you enter without ceremony and plonk yourself down, wondering if you’re meant to go to a counter before you realise a QR code is directing you to an online menu. Once you have ordered someone does deliver a little buzzer for you to know when you collect your food, they are efficient operations.
Both establishments purport to authenticity of cuisine, Noodlee specifically call it out on their website saying their goal was ‘bringing authentic Chinese cuisine to the people of lreland’. Despite that their offering feels quite a bit more ‘Westernised’ than Yang’s. The Noodlee menu is more extensive, with not just the Ramen and Udon dishes I’m after but also chips with curry sauce and deep fried chicken balls. Yang’s is a much tighter knit selection and their specialty being braised chicken on the bone.
That feels a suitable time to start on the food itself. As suggested both of these places are set up for speed, in the case of the signature braised chicken its something that has clearly been slow cooked and is just ready to be plated up at order. A nice touch is filling your own accompanying bowl of carbs from the big rice cooker in the corner of the restaurant. At first glance the dish (£10) looked a touch bland but when digging in there was no shortage of flavour. The broth itself had plenty of umami from dried mushroom alongside ginger and soy that combined with the chicken juices to make something comforting. Having had similar dishes before the chicken on the bone can provide pretty meager meat but these pieces were both generous and surprisingly succulent. I’d have liked a little more vegetable action with only a couple of pieces of pepper thrown on at the end to provide freshness but the chicken and its soup are the stars of this dish.
By comparison the Beef Lo Udon (£9.95) from Noodlee was vibrant with colour and a lot more of your 5-a-day. The veg was on the right side of crunchy and an excellent foil to the soft noodles . The beef was passable, fairly heavily cooked and not especially high quality but in reality what you would expect with a dish like this. The black bean sauce enjoyable in a familiar kind of way, if lacking the depth and sublty of the offering from, Yang’s.
Noodlee – Beef Lo Udon
Two enjoyable lunches that were something a little bit different. I’m stretching the ‘everyday’ lunch definition a bit but for a treat you can still eat for less than £10.