There are often days when, if you have left for work in a hurry, you find yourself at your desk realising your packed lunch is sitting on the kitchen table at home.
We’ve all done it and it fills you with a sense of dread – knowing you can either starve or fork out a small fortune for a filling lunch elsewhere.
Thankfully, for those working near Waterlooville precinct, there is an option that will fill them up so much they might not even need dinner at the end of the day.
Noodle Bar can be found just over half-way along the precinct, near the WH Smith store – and while it may seem like a very small establishment, don’t be fooled – this place is the real deal when it comes to lunch.
The first thing you’ll notice when you walk in is how clean and minimalist the design is. A few tables and chairs are scattered around the dining area, with a bar along the shop front. While it might not seem like a lot of seats, it’s perfect for the number of people in there at any given time.
When walking to the counter to place your order, you’ll see a whopping, mind-boggling 156 items on the menu. This is a fully-fledged Chinese takeaway so that makes sense – but the noodle menu is expansive with a list of set recipes as well as the chance to make your own customised box. That’s a nice touch if the set recipes don’t grab your attention.
On a side note, before we talk about the food – the Dish Detective is particular about being able to see the food being cooked in takeaway joints. If you can’t see it, you have no idea what they’re doing to the food. For all you know, it might just be a bloke with a microwave.
Well, I am pleased to report that here you can see everything the chefs are doing – and they are working flat out the entire time.
That said, the food my companion and I ordered arrived within about three minutes of ordering. Talk about fast food – nothing beats grabbing lunch in a flash if you’re in a rush.
I had the black bean noodles, while my partner had the egg noodles with chicken and mushroom (she used the custom order menu). Drinks are free when you buy noodles too, which is a welcome addition. In total our order came to £11.50.
The boxes these noodles come in are huge – packed to the brim and with a vast array of ingredients in the set recipe boxes.
My black bean noodles came with chicken, beef, peppers, egg, broccoli and an assortment of Asian vegetables.
The flavour hits you like a train from the very first mouthful. With my dish, the black beans and sauce complemented everything perfectly – not overpowering the other ingredients, but certainly enhancing them.
The beef and chicken were cooked well; soft and tender, they quite literally melted in the mouth. The veg can be the subject of hot debate among diners; I prefer mine to have a bit of crunch while others prefer them to be as soft as the rest of the dish. Here, the veg still had the crunch, and I feel that really helps it to stand out among the noodles – particularly the broccoli.
The restaurant also fills you up – when I went into work after lunch, I found myself unable to snack (which many would know is a rarity) and I was still full when it came to dinner later in the evening.
When I asked my companion what she thought of Noodle Bar, she had nothing but praise for the restaurant, saying the food was always tasty and filling, and complimented the service you receive from the friendly staff inside.
This was one Chinese lunch I won’t forget in a hurry.
Ratings and info
Noodle Bar, London Road, Waterlooville
Tel: (023) 9225 8117
(ratings out of five)