Noodle One - Bangor, North Wales

So I've finished painting my bedroom in time for moving out at the end of June. The chalkboard wall is gone!!! I felt it would be wise for me to paint over it because my landlord probably wouldn't see it as fun and innovative as I do...

I was knackered, headachy and figured I'd go eat out. I mentally scanned the local area for food joints and realised there was a noodle bar that I'd never really acknowledged before. I've had one or three friends sing praises about the Noodle One but I hadn't noticed any real hype over the 3 years I've lived here. So I figured I'd try it out - after all, I needed some healthy green leafies after breathing in VOC's all day! I called Sean and we headed down there for some fresh, easy-going grub.

So you walk in, and the first thing that you notice is a peculiar seating arrangement. Instead of the normal 'Battleships' table layout you get in most restaurants, you're offered very long benches. I could describe it as a high-school cafeteria layout, but I'd hate for that to put you off! It is a superb idea I think. It goes against that typical British anti-social attitude and makes the atmosphere a lot more communal. It's much easier to talk to strangers this way. You could peep at your neighbour's dishes and remark about how great their menu choice is and take the rest from there. This idea of socialising while eating might even make a few of you nauseous, but I personally think it's a wonderful idea that should definitely be implemented at other places!

We were quickly given our menus. The food is mostly Japanese, with a good choice of Thai and Indonesian also. They're rather creative in how they made their menu. You have a number of 'food genres' to choose from, such as 'noodle', 'rice' and ... I can't remember the other one ... d'oh! Within each 'genre', you then select your meat/bulk vegetable and its cooking style, and then you select your noodle/rice style. It's very building-block-y, I was a huge fan of this! We 'built' our meals while sipping pots of hot sake.

We ordered our starters. I ordered chicken satay and Sean ordered vegetable gyoza.

I was slightly disheartened by how small they looked, but they tasted truly out of this world. It is as if the flavour was concentrated into small servings to deliver that post-coital rush over a few bites. It mightn't have been very high-impact on the plate, but it certainly was in the mouth!

Starters were polished quickly. Time for the main. I ordered teriyaki chicken miso ramen noodles, and Sean ordered shichimi-style duck chilli ramen noodles. We waited quite a while for our noodles. We did get to peep over shoulders and spy what other people were noshing, and it looked very promising indeed!

Then our food was brought over. Our jaws dropped as two gigantic bowls of noodles were placed before us. They were absolutely enormous, and would have surely qualified as mixing bowls! And the wooden ladles were so adorable.

 Teriyaki Chicken Miso Ramen

Shichimi-style Duck Chilli Ramen

I couldn't finish mine. There was SOOO MUCH! Marvellous value for only £7!

Their dessert menu was very trendy, so we had to give something a go! There was a lot of ginger happening, with a lime & ginger cheesecake, and a ginger syrup crunch ice cream. Who gave Geri Halliwell a piece of chalk? They had the normal, boring desserts such as a chocolate brownie and chocolate fudge cake. Whenever I eat out somewhere I always turn a blind eye at sticky toffee sponge, eton mess, etc. (Booooooring!) But these guys had some real unique treasures! To me, a good menu is something which offers something daring and a little bit 'out there', which they did. Since their dessert board was written out in chalk, I assume it must change every so often. Joyful joy!

I plumped for the ginger syrup crunch ice cream, Sean favoured the apple & cinnamon dumplings with a caramel bath.

I'm a bit scared of ginger to be honest. I have bad memories of forcing myself to drink lemon & ginger tea when I did the Atkins diet yeaaarrrrs ago. But when I tried this bad boy, I was surprised that ginger could taste so sweet! It's hard to describe it well. It was a totally new taste experience to me and was one I would definitely relive!

Sean's apple and cinnamon dumplings were delish, they tasted a bit like apple strudel I'd say, just deep-fried. The serving was too frugal, which was such a shame as there was so much creamy caramel left!

It was a fab meal! I really wish I had tried the place out sooner! It offers the kind of food which you just can't really find in any other joints around Bangor. Asian food, but not the synthetic, MSG-laden takeaway food you find around Bangor usually. The food is very 'whole' and natural-looking and I didn't feel guilty at any stage of stuffing my face. I need to explore the rest of their menu and see what other fabulous creations I can 'build'!

They do offer a take-out service too, which I will definitely abuse when I next have a film night! Hallelujah!

Anthony :)



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