Fancying a cheap bite to eat before the cinema I dragged the boy into Handmade Noodle King on Faulkner Street in Manchester’s China Town earlier this week.
Having been a big buzz on twitter and blogger lately, plus wanting to break the chain of eating in our usual haunts; I was eager to try these handmade noodles.
The front of the restaurant in pretty unassuming, especially as there’s a fancy looking Japanese open on the corner and more glitzy looking establishments further up the street.
The dining room is a bit bog-standard, but was clean and the staff were welcoming. I could see the boy looking unimpressed as we were handed menus in plastic books; but as we read down the list and spotted some rather authentic dishes he was appeased.
We had a little difficulty locating the ‘famous’ handmade noodles as they are listed with the all you can eat buffet – however our helpful waitress assured us we could order these separately.
My Tibetan beef soup noodles were delicious – the broth was layered with rich beefy flavours, warm hints of star anise, a good punch of garlic and some mouth tingling spice. The noodles themselves were a little chewier than conventional noodles, but this extra bite meant that they didn’t dissolve in the soup and become a soggy mess. I’m not one for over-eating but I couldn’t stop with this dish until I felt fit to burst (I couldn’t even eat all my ice-cream in cinema afterwards!).
The boy ordered a stir-fried noodle dish, again with handmade noodles. Here they weren’t so plumped up and provided a good bite against the strong flavours of the blackbean sauce and the soft chunks of beef. The only downside to this dish was that the sauce became overly gloopy in some parts.
As a side we ordered the spicy cold pig’s stomach. This is a finely shredded dish that isn’t for the faint hearted. The spiciness of the dish blows your mouth out – thankfully it’s not a one dimensional heat smack, there’s several layers building over each other to produce a full flavoured mouthful – and for those thinking it would be a chewy, tasteless dish you couldn’t be more wrong. The pork stomach was meltingly tender with its sweet porcine flavours shining through and complimenting the spice.
Service was impeccable and the staff were more than happy to keep bringing us pints of tap water (we got through about three apiece!).
Handmade Noodle King is a great little restaurant with some fab tasting dishes. It’s not somewhere to take a date or someone you want to impress (unless they’re a foodie) – but it really delivers on expertly flavoured, traditional food at great cost.
Ps – the portions are massive; we should have only ordered one main and one starter.
Price for one starter, two mains, two small bottle of Tsing Tao: £24.97
Pps – thanks to Northern Dave for pointing me in the right direction.
Value for money: 8/10
Total – 29/40
Handmade Noodle King, Faulkner Street, China Town, Manchester