Speedy Noodle – NOW CLOSED

address:506 Brixton Rd,  Brixton, SW9 7AW

telephone number 020 7326 4888

We had thought we would not have to review Speedy Noodle as we thought it didn’t qualify under our no chains rule – but it isn’t one. This Chinese style restaurant has been in Brixton long before it was transformed into a foodie destination. But it is a restaurant and although we considered changing the rules to exclude it we tonight (Saturday) decided to make another visit. This is a restaurant which is easy to book (there isn’t any). If you want to go out to the Ritzy and then you don’t have to saunter in the cold or hang about in a queues  just go to Speedy Noodle and you can cut it very close and even see the trailers. It is also opens much later than most restaurants so you can have a starter and main before the film and dessert on the way home too.

It lives up to its name – we were in and out in 20 minutes. The longest time was spent in choosing from the long list of Chinese, Malaysian and Thai items. On another occasion we tried the Thai Green curry which is passable and cheap. This time it was Singapore Vermicelli and a Malaysian Chicken curry. The Singapore noodles looked good with appropriate ingredients but wasn’t as spicy as it could be – but it was a bargain. That was the best bit of our meal. The curry was ….well was.. It had few ingredients – chicken and onions  – but tasted less like  curry and more like chicken in gravy. Despite hunger half was left on the plate.

They have a license and sell beer and wine (by the glass and the bottle) but we washed all down with a pot of green tea. It was cheap – £10.20 for two.

There are nearly 100 items on the menu so we could go back and try more and I am tempted to discover what a fried ice ball is or test the spicy calamari . But I think those culinary delicacies can wait for another decade. If I want cheap and fast food we’ll go to Gyoza down Coldharbour Lane unless we are starving at midnight.

Mama Lan

Address: Unit 18, Brixton Village Market SW9 8PR

As dumplings are fast becoming one of my favourite foods the news that a dumpling restaurant was to open in Brixton Arcade came with much excitement.  With our first visit at prime time for lunch we were worried that due to it only opening a few days before we would be out of luck however we were surprised to see that we had a whole bench to ourselves free.

With minimalistic decor and straightforward menu this place knows what it’s about and doesn’t seem ashamed by it. With three different types of dumplings (Beef and carrot, Pork and Chinese leaf and Dill and spiced tofu) , chilli oil chicken, slow cooked beef with Chinese herbs and spices as well as a smattering of vegetarian options the fact that you can pick 2-3 dishes brings variety to your meal. We chose a few dumplings, the seaweed salad and the chilli chicken between two of us. Although the salad was lacking in flavour, the abundance of it found in our other choices more than made up for it.

Aside from the food the cosy atmosphere created by sharing your meal with both your neighbours and the chefs brings me back to the backstreet dumpling houses I experienced during my time in Beijing . You can watch as ‘mama lan’ creates her dumplings with quick fingered precision as well as spy on your fellow diner’s food to see what looks good. Service was great and came with a smile.

Price came in at just over a tenner each, a little pricier than some of the other places in the arcade. However we left with satisfied and full tummy’s. Will definitely be visiting again.

They also run a supper club: http://www.mamalan.co.uk/index.php

Gyoza

Closed

GyozaAddress: 426 Coldharbour Lane, London, SW9 8LF

Telephone: 020 7274 1492

This place has been a restaurant since we can remember. It used to be an Eel and Pie shop which had an advert which said “Why stand outside and be miserable when you can come inside and be fed up” and we  feel that it  is still true now. This Japanese (hence the name – fried or steamed dumping) and Chinese restaurant is not a gourmet delight but it is a homely place for a cheap, fast, good meal. The staff are warm and friendly and the food comes in record time so even if you thought there was no time to spare before your film begins at the Ritzy you still get the chance to see the adverts if you eat here.

We usually have the hot and salty squid, prawn gyoza,  fried seaweed and a quarter of duck to start and then a free for all for the main courses. Thick noodles, thin noodles, hot soups and your choice of meat fish or tofu – however, be warned that the main dishes all extremely generous. This is a Japanese style restaurant so chopsticks are assumed but you can ask for a fork if the seaweed gets a bit risky for your neighbours.

The alcohol is good beer – Asahi is our usual choice. They have others but why roam…