Meal courtesy of Tang London
Eaten/ attended by Ed @onehungryasian
Tucked away near Tottenham Court Road – this Fitzrovia noodle bar is well worth seeking out to satisfy that noodle craving.
In its small but comfortable setting, Tang’s menu encompasses everything from its small plates of dumplings, bao and fried chicken, to bowls of soupy and dry noodles, and rice.
Commendable as well is that the majority of dishes here can be ordered gluten free or even vegan if needed – a welcome change compared to most Chinese/Asian restaurants! Gluten free buns may lack the fluffy feel of classic bao, but when stuffed with the fried chicken or tofu and slathered in homemade miso sauce, will be the last issue on your mind! In fact, the mushroom dumplings and fried tofu were so enjoyable that I’d pick them over the friend chicken or braised beef – especially when slathered in the homemade chilli oil.
And what a chilli oil! I’m dedicating a whole paragraph to it because it is simply fantastic. Made from a special recipe that uses vegetables as a base instead of just onion/garlic, this is a chilli oil unlike any you’ve had before, and packs a serious umami-punch. Addictive like anything, and totally worth asking the restaurant if you can buy a small pot of to take home!
And onto the main event – the noodles! Tang means, in Chinese, soup, so anything less than great broth would be a bit anticlimactic. Fortunately, the noodle dishes here back it up, largely. The bases for all their noodle dishes were surprisingly light, subtle in flavour but moreish. I personally prefer a more rich base, with deep flavour from long and slow cooking, but a spoonful of that chilli oil pretty much imparted the full flavour I was looking for.
My preference for much punchy flavours reveals itself in that my two favourite dishes were the cold noodle salad, and the beef and rice (both lacking in soup). The cold noodle salad is a more refreshing take on zha jiang noodles (minced pork and bean sauce with noodles) and is an absolute steal for only £6.50, and the beef was tender, unctuous and falling apart in a thick sauce. Perfection.
Desserts aren’t something the Chinese are known for, so you’d be forgiven for passing on the one dessert on the menu, a sugarcane shiso sorbet. Don’t. This was the perfect way to end our meal, and was a well made balance of sweetness and refreshing flavour that brought the meal to a close.
Tang London is a great noodle spot in London, no doubt. The more delicate approach to its noodles vs the ramen overload in past years is a nice change, and it earns extra points for so willingly catering to gluten-free eaters and vegans alike! Throw in the fact it’s fairly good value for money, and the chilli oil here borders on ambrosia, and its a winning combo.