Chowfind of the Millennium: Noodle Face - Authentic Beijing Flavours!
If you are interested in a taste of Beijing (something a student at Peking University would have for lunch) check out (the oddly named) Noodle Face Co at 41 Baldwin Street.
I had lunch with the SO here today. We ordered the first two dishes on the menu, Guangong beef noodle soup ($8) and Dandan noodle soup ($8).
The portions were very generous, a large bowl filled to the brim with all natural broths, noodles, sliced beef / ground pork respectively, and some bok choy.
More impressive than the portions, the clean flavours came through as nuanced! You can taste the homemade goodness.
We slurped the bowls to the very last drop (finishing the broth is something I'm never tempted to do just down the street at Kinton Ramen).
A couple tips... my dandan was very spicy (supposedly medium, but honestly a bit too much punch - consider mild even if you like spicy, as I do). The jasmine tea ($2) and black milk tea ($2), were high quality but too strong / tannic for our palates.
We'll definitely be back to explore more of the menu :P
* Pardon the title's hyperbole, I couldn't resist Vinnie... this is a family run spot that I think deserves some attention!
Some good authentic sour-ish flavours I would agree, and the nicest people. Thought the noodles were subpar. Out of a box? Too soft. They offer house-made noodles which may be great, but they double the price!! How can a place called Noodle Face serve such inferior noodles? Maybe because they charge through the nose for the house-made choice?
I also slurped to the bottom of the bowl but there are many good soups out there that include much better noodles, and a better overall menu.
Look forward to reading other reviews as they were newly opened when I visited.
i think "of the millenium" is really pushing it a bit far. the place is okay.. pretty simple food with goddawful decor (what is up with those ugly particle board surfaces? even if they are going for a "chinese communist utilitarian" look, it's very ugly. also, the tables and chairs are from ikea.. and that hand drawn(?) sign outside and the plastic flowers.. oh, the horror :))
for the price, you can't go wrong. i'd go back if i was in the area and wanted a cheap meal.. but it is no amazing chowfind, imho. it is definitely a "student" type of place.
the SO had the dandan noodles, and i had veg noodles.. and we shared pickled potato salad. all was only "ok" but very cheap.
Checked this out last night as we were cold and wanted some hot noodle soup. My SO is from Xi'an and has been back to China a few times and can read and speak chinese (mandarin). I left HK as a baby, so I can only speak Cantonese conversationally. SO has a better grasp of mainland Chinese food.
We got the beef noodles, dan dan noodles, spicy glass noodles, and pork "burger". We realized that this was too much food when everything arrived. We both can eat quite spicy and the spicy dishes were fine for us. Noodles were nothing special and the dan dan was in a soup (versus "dry" as we're used to). We both felt the food was ok, nothing amazing - especially compared to northern chinese food in scarborough and north york.
The SO noted that there probably isn't any place downtown Toronto that does the spicy glass noodles. SO also said the feel of the place was very beijing (did exchange at PKU), but as noted by helenhelen is more of a student place. They could be very successful since there isn't really any cool/hip Mando place downtown (SO lives downtown) - albeit, we are both several years removed from university. Hoping the empty space to the other side goes well - an acoustic/open mic/lounge area could bring a lot of contemporary chinese culture to the area.
So it's not the Chowfind of the millenium after all! VVM is still in first place with the Chowfind of the Century. The responses by other to the OP almost appear this place is not worth a visit unless you are a student from Beijing with $10 to spend for lunch, and you happen to also be walking right by it!
Check out the reviews left on BlogTo, those are worth a read.
Yes... it seems even on BlogTO, those familiar with the authentic flavours of Beijing agree with my review!
"The food was fantastic. Great homemade Northern Chinese flavours. Service was very friendly. They seemed on the verge of being overwhelmed by the amount of business coming in. If they can keep up with the demand this will be a definite keeper."
"I grew up in China and in my opinion, this is the best downtown Northern Chinese restaurant."
Anyhow, you missed the joke... I wasn't claiming that this was the "Chowfind of the Millenium". What Vinnie's post, ridiculous title aside, represented for me was chow that was authentic served in a modest environment (for the record, Noodle Face's decor is sparse, but it is part of the charm).
This is not a spot for "a student from Beijing with $10 to spend for lunch" but for anyone that knows and appreciates (or is interested in trying) an authentic flavour of Beijing! I wouldn't say it is worth a trip across the city, but certainly if you are in the general area definitely worth a visit.
Today we visited again (with my infant son and uncle). Neither of which are familiar with this type of cuisine, but both enjoyed it.
My boy and I had the homemade noodles (think bibimbap by way of Beijing, with lots of crunchy fresh vegetables) and a homemade dumpling soup (tasty dumplings, the soup was a bit vinegary with seaweed notes). Uncle (who could be characterized as unfamiliar with chopsticks!) had the beef noodle soup... he cleaned the bowl.
In addition to the free tea, we tried wang zai milk, which was fun (it tasted like condensed milk - quite sweet).
More menu to explore! We'll be back soon (hope you get to try it as well before passing judgement).
Finally figured out what Noodle Face means... you should have seen my boy's mug!
My problem was with the cost to upgrade from lousy boxed noodles. They told us it was 8 or 9 dollars more to get house-made. Essentially doubling the price. We opted out never expecting the default noodle to be so lousy.
My question is....do they only serve the house-made noodles now or is there still a premium price?