I’ve long been a fan of this Manchester based mini-chain (now with branches in Leeds, Bristol & Reading) founded, as it happens, by an ex-colleague of Mrs H.
Their menu is pan-East Asian “street food”. Now, I neither know nor care whether there is anything more than a nod towards authenticity. I care about how the food tastes, though. And it tastes good to me. It’s usually a lunch, rather than dinner, spot and the three Manchester branches (Albert Square, Triangle and Trafford Centre) are all ideally placed for the shopper. And lunch is the bargain. £7.95 gets you a starter and main from the small selection taken from the main menu.
Tod Man Khao Pod was the Thai contribution to lunch – three corn fritters with a kickarse chilli dip. From Vietnam, a summer roll – something I try to make at home but am just cack-handed about the folding, so it’s a pleasure to have one made for me. This came with a soy/ginger dipping sauce.
For mains, nasi goreng was a fresh tasting mix of rice, prawn and veg. There’s bottles of kecap manis on the table to perk it up if needed. Chap chae was the Korean contribution to the several slippery thin noodle dishes that are on the menu (and the only one with the cheapo lunch deal). I liked this – but not as much as the mee goreng that used to be on offer.
As might be expected, service is slick and, erm, chain-like. Which means you can be in and out and back undertaking retail therapy before you can say Ga Xao Xa Ot.
Another lunch at the mall, from the bargain £7.95 "Express" menu. Vietnamese summer roll, as above. Followed by Singapore noodles which were a workmanlike offering of the takeaway classic - decent amounts of prawn & chicken; lots of noodles; a nice mild background flavouring of curry spices. Lightning fast service so you're not delayed too much in the search for retail therapy.