“ Type: Chinese / Address: 156 London Road / Sheffield / S2 4LT / England / Tel: 0114 255 4488 „
Noodle Inn is one of my all time favourite restaurants i've discovered in my long career of stuffing my face.
Located just within the City Centre of Sheffield on London Road, an area with lots of choice food wise, it is a relatively small place with a very authentic feel.
They offer a takeout service and do deliver but only within a couple of miles of the city centre.
The restaurant can probably seat around 30- 40 people by my reckoning. On entering you immediately notice one large communal table running down the centre with smaller 2 or 4 tops located around the edges. There is a small bar near the entrance and the kitchen is located near the back.
The restuarant has a quite modern feel but is very simplistic compared to other chinese restaurants I have eaten in. The tables and chairs are basic but functional, there's no fake waterfall with dry ice as I have experienced in one chinese restaurant before, the Noodle Inn has a very laid back, honest vibe to it.
There are various bits on the wall informing customers of the virtues and properties of different types of noodles, which is, of course, what the people go there for. They also have a tv on the wall usually tuned to something like Deal or No Deal which I love. It gives the place a bit of a family feel.
I think a lot of people have become accustomed to the nastiness that is the Chinese Buffet Restaurant, places like Jumbo and Big Wok that allow you to eat as much as you can manage for 6 or 7 quid. While these places don't neccessarily make out to be high quality from the get go I find it difficult to eat in them after experiencing the awesomeness that is Noodle Inn.
The first thing that struck me upon eating there is the value for money you get.
We usually start off with a 'Big Soup' when we go. This is a large bowl of clear soup with your selection of meat, fish or veg. For just £6 you get a humongous bowl of soup with 3 Roasties (Roast Pork, Duck and Crispy Pork) mixed with fresh vegetables and your choice of either chinese noodles, ramen, vermicelli, udon, rice thread or sweet potato noodles. The meat is always cooked to perfection and is nothing like the cheap gristly meat you would get in a buffet restaurant. The veg are very fresh and crunchy and the noodles firm but not at all soggy.
I would suggest going for a thinner noodle like vermicelli so you aren't too full for your main course.
We normally share one of these between 2 as we are greedy pigs but I would say that one Big Soup could comfortably serve 3 or 4 as a starter.
The friend spare ribs with salt and chilli (£4.50) are another one to try. The meat just falls off the bone and is seasoned to perfection. The spring rolls are massive (£3.50 for 4) and are bursting with crisp vegetables and succulent meat and the prawn toast is delicious, lots of meat and not as greasy as you would get from your local take away.
Now if you manage to have some room left after that for a main course I would suggest trying a 'Big Plate' of Wok Fried Noodles.
First you choose a type of noodle, either crispy noodles, ramen, vermicelli or udon and then decide what you would like with it. My favourite is the Seafood with XO sauce, usually with ramen or udon noodles. The seafood includes squid (not at all chewy), thick scallops and massive juicy prawns. The sauce is quite thick and brown and from what I can tell is made of chopped seafood, onions, chilli, oil, garlic and soy sauce. It absolutely my favourite chinese dish and is a bargain at £6.20.
The plate is of epic proportions, I could never eat one to myself so I recommend you share. It's not too big that a man with a healthy appetite couldn't finish it though so always ask the staff if you're unsure whether you're ordering too much. They'll generally tell you if they think you've ordered too much though.
The beef with chinese veg 'Big Plate' (£5.80) is also a good choice, you can tell the beef is good quality and the veg is always well cooked and crispy.
If you don't fancy noodles there are 'Big Plates' with rice. Prices are stated for boiled rice but for an extra 50p you can have fried if you prefer. There are also the traditional chinese dishes if you want to get everything separate. A bowl of steamed rice is £1.50 and is good to share between 3 or 4 people as a base.
There's a wide selection of beef, chicken, seafood and tofu so something for everyone. As everything is made fresh I'm sure they'd be happy to make you the dishes with slight variations if you ask.
There isn't a dessert menu but they do give you a scoop of free vanilla ice cream which is good as you really never have room when you're done.
The drinks menu is pretty standard and prices are quite low. A pint of soft drink will set you back £1.50 or so. Beers such as Fosters are available on tap for approximately £2.50 and bottle beers are about £3.
The restaurant is open 7 days a week, noon til 11pm, and is always busy. About 90% of the customers are chinese which I think is a good measure of how good the place is going to be. With their being a big communal table you share your space with strangers which is nice and gives a family feel to the place.
I have been there when the staff have breaks and they sit with you and watch the telly. There's no pretentiousness like you get in some places. The staff are very friendly and although all chinese do speak english very well. I must say that they do laugh at me when I ask for a fork due to my inability to use chopsticks but I don't mind as it's never meant maliciously.
I love it here. The food is great, the staff are friendly and efficient and the atmosphere is so relaxed. Perfect to get your fix of chinese food at bargain prices for both lunch and dinner. Highly recommended!!!