The Noodle House: Disappointing Asian Food in Mall of Arabia
After you’ve made the exhausting trek
around Mall of Arabia – which feels like the equivalent to a 3km walk around
the sports track – you’re going to need sustenance, preferably the greasy,
deliciously unhealthy type. Having spotted the Noodle House’s sign across from
Beano’s and Gloria Jean’s Cafe near gate 18, this reviewer couldn’t resist
venturing past the Asian restaurant’s large dark wooden door.
The restaurant’s space is dimly lit with
dark floors and wooden picnic-like tables that separate backless booth seats.
The area is divided into smoking and non-smoking sections, and one side of the
restaurant consists of an open kitchen with aluminium counters and a row of
cutely arranged Chinese takeout boxes.
The minute you step into the Noodle Houses,
your senses will most likely be assaulted by the cooking smells coming from the
kitchen, which is fine as long as it’s not too crowded and there’s some
ventilation provided. At the time of this reviewer’s visit, a football match
was showing on the venue’s flat-screen TVs with audio, which killed any attempt
at an Asian atmosphere.
Our enthusiastic waiter gave us a
notepad-type menu, where we could tick boxes next to our orders. The menu is
divided into appetisers, dim sum, specialities and house favourites, in
addition to wet noodles and soups, wok-fried noodles and rice, side dishes and
desserts. Specialities include the teriyaki beef tenderloin (65LE) and the Thai
green curry with chicken (35LE) as well as the spicy crab with shrimp fried
Our request for the dim sum was met with an
apologetic no from the waiter; they were out of dim sum. They were also out of
the mango pudding with ice cream.
For appetisers, we ordered the prawn bags
with sweet chilli sauce (35LE) and the crispy duck wontons in sour plum sauce
(26LE). The prawn bags were delicious
and nicely crispy though a little small, and the sweet chilli sauce was inoffensive
and more sweet than spicy. The crispy duck wontons came in generous pastry
packages full of duck meat, but they were sadly killed by the sour plum sauce
that tasted flat-out expired, not sour.
For our mains, we ordered the pad Thai with
prawns, tofu and ground peanuts (48LE), which was so bad; this reviewer had to
send it back. Instead of pad Thai, we received a bowl of wet noodles drowning
in an overpowering soy sauce that tasted wrong; as if the soy had neared its
expiry date. There were no tofu pieces visible, barely any peanuts and the
prawns were overpowered by the sauce and couldn’t make the dish better.
Our patient waiter recommended that we
replace our disappointing dish with their Shanghai beef noodles (53LE), which
he insisted was one of their best and most popular dishes. Willing to give them
another shot, we were surprised by how quickly the noodle dish arrived, and
although the meat portions were definitely tastier and the sauce not as
offensive, it was nowhere near what we craved and expected in terms of
delicious Asian fast food. It’s not that hard to make tasty stir fry noodles,
and with many peer Asian restaurants in Cairo, it was disappointing to see
Noodle House falling short in something they should be able to do with their
As much as we wanted to love this
restaurant for its amiable service and great potential, the cuisine was
disappointing enough to stop us from coming back here again.