Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Noodle House, Dolmen Mall, Clifton

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَـنِ الرَّحِيمِ

Amid much aplomb, The Noodle House was launched in Karachi in the past year, with its first outlet in Pearl Continental Hotel.

It is an international restaurant chain offering South Asian cuisine, which, as the name suggests, focuses mostly on different types of noodles.

Recently, its second outlet was inaugurated in Dolmen Mall Clifton. This outlet boasts amazing ocean views during the day.

It is right next to the Fatburger joint on the second floor of the mall, opposite the food court.

Here is the ocean view that is, in my opinion, one of the greatest assets of this particular branch of The Noodle House.

In one corner, there is a raised kiosk surrounded by latticed wood partitions. This offers a bit more privacy to those who wish to dine at this corner table.

The rest of the restaurant is rather similar in ambiance to Fatburger. Except for the ocean views, of course.

Chicken Pad Thai
To view the complete menu, including the prices of dishes quoted exclusive of tax, please click here.

The condiments, clockwise from top left, which accompanied the Pad Thai: shredded and salted egg, flaked red chillies, green spring onion sprigs, and chopped peanuts.
In the background, you can see the placard displaying the drinks menu, which includes coffee, specialty teas, soft drinks, and juices.

Soya Sauce
There were two kinds that were served, one was a bit sweet, the other more tangy.
I am sorry, but due to my limited knowledge of South Asian cuisine, I can not exactly remember their exotic-sounding names. [Duh. :P]

Well, this was the first time I was having Pad Thai, a dish that I have been dying to try since ages, but which I did not want to order from other places, because I wanted to try one prepared by a trained chef, with a quintessential, authentic Thai taste.

Some of those who prefer mild spices in their food might not enjoy this Pad Thai as much as I did. But I do not mind a little extra salt, and I love spices in noodles, so I can safely say that this Pad Thai was delicious!

You can see that the noodles in it were the flat (Chinese) ones, entangled with a few thinner, spaghetti-style pasta strands as well.
Drizzled with the accompanying condiments and sauces, every bite of this dish was a novel and exhilarating experience for a noodle aficionado like myself!
You can also see the egg clearly in the above shot of the noodles.
Notice how the green spring onion sprigs are chopped sideways? That is the hallmark of a professional chef!

 Dim Sum: Spinach and Vegetable Dumplings

These were green, spinach-flavored pockets of pasta (very cute to look at, by the way), stuffed with corn, chopped mushrooms and tomatoes.
Drizzled with the soya sauce, they made for a nice and very unique appetizer. Not something you have every day!
Note: salt content was very high, perhaps because of the mushrooms.

Another shot of the view.
I must admit, I went there for lunch deliberately, to enjoy noodles (one of my favorite foods) with a view of the sea (one of the best things about Karachi) in an air-conditioned environment.

My older two children, aged almost 8 and almost 6, can be rather (cough) spirited.
So I always appreciate it when the staff at a restaurant provides little children with arty activities to keep them engaged (and distracted).
They also gave them one packet of color pencils each (that I insisted on returning when we were leaving).

Nevertheless, as kids will be kids, my son still tried to climb this wooden lattice many times (*sigh*).

Chicken and Vegetable Fried Rice

This was ordered for the children, who loved it and wiped it out. It was very fresh, but nothing different from the fried rice available at any other eatery.

Another item on the kids' menu, Crispy Chicken Strips with Rice

Dim Sum: Chicken Siew Mai Dumplings

These were like the spinach and vegetable dumplings above, but stuffed with a sticky chicken and vegetable mixture.

More Dim Sum: Aromatic Spicy Chicken Dumplings 
These dumplings were stuffed with spicy chicken mince. However, they were quite salty.
Hence, I wouldn't recommend them.

Singaporean Noodles with Chicken and Prawns

The sauces that accompanied the Singaporean Noodles: a dark red, rich sauce (the name of which I do not know, but which I loved), green chillies in vinegar, ground ginger paste (without garlic), and a very hot, red chilli sauce.

The Singaporean Noodles were made with rice vermicelli noodles, another first for all of us.
The taste was very different from the Pad Thai,- much spicier and tangier, with the crunch of the ample, crispy, shredded vegetables perfectly complementing the soft tenderness of the pasta that they were intertwined with.
Spicy South Asian food at its best! 

The accompanying soya sauce added to the tastiness of the noodles when sprinkled generously over them.

Verdict: If you are a spicy-wok-fried-noodles fan, you must try the food at The Noodle House! They also offer wet, soupy noodle items.

And if the prices are making you gawk, well, although the reaction might be justifiable, I think that you can swap making one lawn outfit for yourself (if you are a Pakistani woman) or one other extra monthly expenditure (if you are a man) to take your family out for a meal here once, just for the novel experience. Or you can put off having South Asian food for many years until you are able to go on that elusive vacation to Thailand, Malaysia or Bali - the choice is yours. It is all about what you are willing to spend on, because all of us spend our money, albeit in varying ways.

FYI the serving size of the main noodle dishes is more than enough to fill up two hungry adults.

But if you do not enjoy spicy South-Asian (Thai, Malaysian, Singaporean or Indonesian) food, I do not think you'd like the cuisine at The Noodle House.

To whom it may concern, I asked the staff about it and they assured me that all the meat on offer at The Noodle House was halal, which is not surprising, considering how this restaurant chain has originated from the UAE (and is owned by the Jumeirah Group). I suppose that means I can try the duck on the menu, which is another thing that I have never eaten before. :)

I had also wanted to to order the dessert titled 'Chocolate Lava Cake with Green Tea Ice Cream', but was disappointed to be told that it was not available.

That being said, I appreciated the courteousness and timely service of the staff (including the manager, who oversaw the overall service) as well as the availability of wifi and the absence of music. 

The only sound that might cause diners intermittent 'jolts' at this outlet of The Noodle House is the shouting of the Fatburger waiters next door, when they loudly yell out customers' orders in their signature style.