Our past three reviews of Noodles have remained positive and this fourth one isn't an exception. They're so consistent in terms of price and quality that reviewing and writing about them has become a mundane process now.
Every time you go in, the food is good, the service is good, the prices are good...evey thing is just..good. While their presentation and ingredient count may vary you can still expect a tasty dish, you know?
Our recent experience here was no different.
The ambience here is pretty straightforward. They've got plain tables and chairs, minimal decor, dim yellow lighting which yields atrocious photographs (as you will soon see), and an outdoor smoking area as well in case you like your Mock Duck Soup with a little extra nicotine.
They've got an open kitchen that doesn't really give much away on account of its high counter-tops. There are also a few interesting ornaments strewn about, like weird hats, and an entire table with dried noodles for your reference in case you're confused about the types of noodles involved in the menu.
Our starter was a portion of the Cha Gio Chay Voi Nam Vo Rau, or if that intimidates you: the Crispy Vietnamese Vegetarian Spring Rolls (Rs. 450). This dish comes with five normal-sized rolls, each stuffed with shredded leeks, carrots, and other greens of the like. The outser shell is a richer version of your average filo, and true to its namesake, delivers on crunch and crisp. The dipping sauce is a tad watery but is good for adding an extra note of flavour in case you feel like something's missing.
The Tofu Moyashi is a tofu based broth that comes with soba noodles, lots of vegetables and somehow only a light helping of tofu itself. If you choose to ignore this slight blasphemy, it actually makes for a fantastic vegetable soba soup.
You get broccoli, bok choi, carrots, cabbage, onions and perhaps a few mushrooms swimming about, all soaking in a delicious coconut based veggie broth. It's nice and comforting, but the lack of tofu leaves room for critique.
I always see whole roast duck strung from hooks over their open kitchen counters and wondered what dish those are part of. Upon inquiry, the waiter looked a bit clueless and told us that we could place orders for duck based dishes, but that they weren't on the menu save for a few. I got the Roast Duck Ramen Soup which clocks in at Rs. 650 for a small portion.
This is a delicious dish. It's spicy, the broth is strong and uh, ducky, and there's a nice, flavour play from all the contributory aromatics seeping in this bowl. The soup is a deep sienna and has a number of roast duck slices. I loved the duck; the meat was pink and tender which provided a suitable contrast to its crisp skin. The ramen and vegetables tie the whole soup together with a good balance of carbs and added flavour from the greens.
For dessert, we opted for a serving of the Nashi Pear (Rs. 350). The Nashi pear is a type of pear native to East Asia. It's smaller than the average pear, but it also yields a better taste. We're not sure if actual Nashi pears went into the making of this dish but they looekd rather small in size, so who knows.
This is a small serving of halved, stewed pears swimming in an extremely dense and rich spice-infused syrup. It's got an extensive flavour profile that has hints of cardamom, star anise and a whole bunch of other things that give it a bitter, sweet, and tart flavour. The syrup also has sake infused into it, so two shots of just the liquid alone might probably get you drunk.
We couldn't finish the entire thing as it was too rich a dish, but if you're in the mood for a little luxury- help yourselves.
For our drinks we got the Singapore Sling (Rs. 960) and the Green Lady (Rs. 490).
The Singapore Sling is a blood red colour, and comes with gin, cherry brandy, Cointreau, Benedictine, Grenadine, pineapple juice, lemon juice and Angostura bitters. Now half of those things don't really make a stand-alone appearance on their own, but overall this drink is bang full of flavour. The pineapple gives off the strongest flavour, and the rest is a sweet, boozy whisper.
The Green Lady unfortunately wasn't much of a star. Mint Leaves, lime, cucumber and Sprite are the elements at play here and none of those are mild ingredients, but they were unfortunately subdued by the sheer amount of water. If this was advertised as flavoured water instead of an actual drink it'd be a success, but alas, that isn't the case.
The drinks were simple in their presentation- perhaps a bit too simple. Basic glasses, plastic straws, a bit of fruit propped on the edge as garnis/extra decoration makes for a rather unexciting sight.
Our server that night was extremely friendly. It made me wonder why. I've never quite experienced such courtesy, nor politeness at a restaurant before. He probably knew that I was the grumpy chick from that Friyay show (plug). The staff here are extremely accommodating, fast, and their knowledge of the menu is superb. If you're stuck with your order, just tell them what you feel like having and they'll make a recommendation.
Despite my slightly negative tone of voice in this review, Noodles is actually one of my most favourite restaurants. It's fancy, classy and an excellent date spot if you're on a budget or don't feel like throwing all your cash on a single dinner. If you aren't fussy, and just want to dress up and enjoy yourselves over drinks and reasonably priced food- then you know where to go.
Noodles at Cinnamon Grand has always remained consistent with their prices and quality. You're getting your money's worth here and it's the ideal place to book if you're doing date night on a budget.
Noodles at Cinnamon Grand offers one the most complete dining experiences around the city at a surprisingly affordable price point, while maintaining a high level of service.
Noodles hits a sweet spot in the Colombo dining scene. They do a flavorful range of (mostly) noodle-based Southeast Asian dishes, and they're quite affordable as well. It's a busy spot just a year after opening, and for good reason.
Noodles is an exciting new restaurant at Cinnamon Grand that promises the best of Asian noodle cuisine, from Thailand, Vietnam, China, Japan and Malaysia - the food is good, the service and ambience flawless, plus it's not too pricey.
Cinnamon Grand is between Temple Trees and Galle Face on the Galle Road. Inside, walk into the lobby, turn right, go past Coffee Stop and the shoe shine place and down the stairs. Keep going forward and it's there.