A delicious pile of noodles, rice, veggies, chicken, beef – anything smothered in soy sauce and piled high on chopsticks – is always a welcome treat, no matter the occasion.
Your Dish Detective is usually a devotee of Kim and Laurie, the Chinese takeaway next to the pharmacy on Lavender Road, but in the spirit of adventure decided to take the plunge with another Waterlooville-based Asian eatery.
There’s quite a nice range of Chinese takeaways within a very short driving distance of Waterlooville town centre – Jade Garden, Lin’s Wok, Good View – but I hadn’t yet paid a visit to Noodle Bar right in the middle of the precinct. A culinary terra incognita for me.
A Thai noodle and Chinese food eatery, Noodle Bar has some inside seating but also offers takeaway and a home delivery service in the evenings. We call ahead for an evening pick-up, the team member who took my order running through the list to make sure everything was right.
Later, I was greeted by Noodle Bar’s bright red shop front and was told the food would take another couple of minutes.
No problem – waiting for my order, I took note of my surroundings. But the real question is: how’s the food?
It’s cash only but if you’re caught short, Halifax is only a couple of shop fronts down. Coronavirus precautions are so stringent here that your coins and notes are placed within a small plastic box, then pushed through a hole in the plexiglass dividing staff from customers.
Handed a steaming, delicious-smelling plastic bag stuffed with boxes, tubs, and packets – a handful of fortune cookies also added to the bag – I grab my grub and head home.
Noodle Bar offers a range of ‘classic’ boxes, as well as a make-your-own menu with options for noodles, ingredients, and toppings. These are packaged up in the classic square Chinese take-out boxes, cardboard locking on top to seal in the heat.
There’s not a huge range of options for vegetarians, but for meat and fish eaters, there’s a variety of old favourites and new combinations to choose from.
I opted for the classic veggie box (£5.95) with spongy, soy sauce-soaked tofu and chunky, almost fluffy udon noodles (+30p). Lots of mushrooms and broccoli make this a delicious dish, and the chopped tomatoes were an excellent addition, creating an almost sweet surprise to balance out the saltiness of the soy sauce.
My companion says the same of the black bean classic box (£5.95) with soft noodles: flavourful and generously topped with chicken, beef, egg and broccoli.
Other dishes worth recommending are the soups – the brothy mixed vegetable soup (£3.25) comes with carrot, onion, broccoli, and spring onion, while the chicken and mushroom soup (£3.25), topped with spring onion, is ideal for those who enjoy a milder, but still pleasing, flavour.
Paired with prawn crackers – the perfect shape and consistency to scoop up toppings – these soups are filling enough to make a meal on their own.
The beef and mushroom main (£5.55) comes with plenty of tender beef and piled veggies, crunchy with a sprinkling of onion for added flavour and texture. Great with egg fried rice.
Open every day except Tuesday, Noodle Bar is serving up tasty dishes during evenings and also from 12-3pm. A sizeable lunchtime treat, so beware – the portions, the hearty flavours, and filling ingredients may have you nodding off at your desk. If you’re a fan of a really classic Chinese takeaway, Noodle Bar is absolutely worth a visit.
Noodle Bar, London Road, Waterlooville
Tel: (023) 9225 8117