Noodlemi serves up pure modern twists on traditional Vietnamese dishes in a clean minimalistic setting. Forget the chintzy Vietnamese eateries of old, this is a fresh take on the cuisine with bright breezy branding to match, dishing up those Asian-French influences with a focus on healthy eating and serving them all up in significant style!
Co-owners Duyen (previously the brains behind high-end Vietnamese resto Song) and Jeremie have definitely hit on a winning concept, and spoke passionately about the ideas behind Noodlemi and its dishes. The entire menu has been crafted to be free of MSG, gluten and wheat, but without stinting on flavour or fun either. Their cleverly designed takeaway packaging comes in bright bold colours, different for each type of food – there’s a pink box for noodles (the type of Chinese takeaway box we thought only existed in Hollywood films!), green for salads, orange for summer rolls and red for spring rolls. Their colourful placemats also change daily, with different catchy slogans like Bitemi, Enjoymi and Cravemi, plus little mentions of the health benefits of key ingredients.
To start, Rach and I tried the soft shell crab summer rolls. At first glance, I thought this looked like any standard Vietnamese dish… how wrong I was! The lightly battered crab was addictively tasty and delicately covered in a divine Asian-infused mayonnaise. However, the standout was actually the homemade Nuoc Cham sauce used for dipping. This was the first one I have tasted where the fish sauce did not overpower what I was eating; I got so excited I asked for the recipe (no surprises that it was hush hush!).
Next up were some crispy chicken spring rolls with lettuce and mint. We were too lazy to wrap and roll in true Vietnamese style, as we were eager to start dipping again into that unbelievable Nuoc Cham! While these spring rolls were not the highlight of our Noodlemi experience, they were lighter than expected and the flavours complimented each other nicely.
We also tried the steamed chicken salad – a dish bursting with freshness and a whole lot of crunch! A mixed salad consisting of finely shredded chicken, cabbage and carrot, garnished with chopped peanuts, fresh mint and a whole host of other delicious seasonings, this is certain to leave you feeling refreshed and cleansed. Personally, I’d prefer a little more chicken in there to get me through the day if I had chosen this alone for lunch… but luckily, we still had plenty of dishes to come!
Our next dish was a definite highlight – turmeric white fish, scallion and dill. Move over salmon, this is quite possibly the best fish I have ever eaten! Chunks of juicy white fish lightly fried, subtly flavoured with peppery undertones of turmeric and perched atop heaps of cold rice vermicelli. Together with grated carrot, cucumber, spring onions, bean shoots, coriander and a hint of chilli, this is sure to be my all-time favourite – I’m salivating just writing this!
We have been told that the men in Sheung Wan are quickly becoming fans of Noodlemi’s hearty banhmi, no surprise given how hard it is to find a good wholesome (and not wallet-weeping!) sandwich in HK! We sampled the popular Noodle Mi Special filled with authentic Vietnamese Salami, cucumber, coriander, chilli, carrot and pickled daikon. This substantial baguette packed a satisfyingly crusty crunch and delightfully fresh flavours… but even between two of us, we struggled to make significant inroads into it. This is definitely a meal on its own!
Our last but certainly not least savoury dish was the simmered beef with tomato and anise, served with baguette slices. This dish was an out-of-this-world taste sensation full of hearty goodness, melt-in-mouth slow-cooked beef and chunks of carrot and onion. What made this dish really special was the serious amount of lemongrass and ginger, which perfectly cut through the richness of the tomato base. Rach and I couldn’t stop ourselves from dunking slices of toasted baguette to mop up this scrumptious sauce time and time again!
Finally, we treated ourselves to the only dessert on the menu, the vanilla terrine with fresh berries. A cute glass jar filled with deliciously light panna cotta made from thick natural yoghurt and topped with tangy raspberry coulis, this was simply beautiful.
Dinner is available until 10pm but the fast-paced lunch is Noodlemi’s real calling card, especially given its convenient location amongst the Bonham Strand office crowd – if you work around Central, you’ll no doubt be jumping up for joy to see a quick healthy yet delicious lunch option available, at extremely reasonably prices (most dishes are between $50-70) with no service charge and the ability to easily take away items. Everything at Noodlemi simply bursts with exciting flavours and a beautiful clean freshness.
Team Sassy are sure to become permanent fixtures of this amazing little eatery… Noodlemi is literally just up the road from our new office space. We couldn’t be happier!
Noodlemi G/F, 2 Bonham Strand, Sheung Wan
2253 1113 www.facebook.com/noodlemi