Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Miso Noodle Bar review - a place to avoid at all costs along Islington Upper Street


Address: 67 Upper Street, London N1 0NY
Tel: 020 7226 2212
Nearest Tube station: Angel

Ratings (out of 5 *)
Price: below £10 pp
Service charge: N/A
Taste:
Service: **
Ambience: **
Suitable for: dire situations when all eating places are shut and your kitchen stove has broken down. Seriously.








Well, it was meant to be a casual night out, nothing fancy. We were strolling along Islington's Upper Street looking for a meal. Those who were familiar with the area would know that the casual diner would be spoilt for choice in the area.

We were in fact heading towards La Forchetta when we chanced upon Miso Noodle Bar. Given that our previous experience at La Forchetta left us with a salt overdose and we had yet to try out Miso Noodle Bar, I thought that it would be a good idea to do so. Furthermore, the Miso Noodle Bar chain seemed to be popping up all over London and I thought that it couldn't be that bad, could it?

I was wrong.

Let's start with the good things first as always. Miso Noodle Bar adopted the Wagamama styled layout. In fact, it reminded me of Glo Rice and Noodle Bar, only more spacious and more pleasant. Staff was efficient though a bit curt but that I could deal with. We were seated on a raised platform, which was fine by me, and everything went downhill from there onwards.

The place was relatively empty for dinnertime, a sign that I chose to ignore. There was a table of diners who looked a tad too sullen at the fare placed in front of them - another sign that I should have turned around but nope, we sat right now.

Clean layout is perhaps one of Miso Noodle Bar's few redeeming features

London was facing of the most severe weather in recent years and the winds were practically howling along Upper Street. Credit given to Miso, which introduced a buffer space between the main entrance and the inner doors - if only both set of doors would swing shut instead of being stuck whenever someone pushed through them.

So there we were, clutching the menu under a constant stream of wind drafts when something caught my eye - the Miso's Specials menu. We zoomed in on Chicken Curry Katsu rice and Thai Green Curry with rice. We could sure do with something spicy on a miserable day like that and so we ordered just that.


Chicken Curry Katsu - Japanese curry Chinese styled

Both dishes arrived quite soon after that much to our delight as we were famished. I took a small spoonful of curry from my Chicken Curry Katsu (£7.25) like I always did at Wagamama and gave a fleeting glance at Wife.

"Is it that bad?" she asked. My expression must had said it all.

To be honest, it's not easy to foil up Chicken Curry Katsu. Lightly battered chicken served with some Japanese curry. I have no issue at all with Miso Noodle Bar's Chicken Katsu and I thought they were better than Wagamama's, but the curry was all wrong. Perhaps it was some herbs that Miso have added or it could even have been the addition of sesame oil (see Green Curry below) - it was neither sweet nor spicy but there was this Chinese touch to it - in fact, it reminded me of the lotus soup that I used to detest as a kid.


Thai Green Curry - ingredients doused with sesame oil and msg

If the Chicken Curry Katsu was bad, the Thai Green Curry (£7.45) was even worse. It seemed that all the ingredients were seasoned in sesame oil before added to the watery curry - a disastrous combination. As if to add injury to the insult, there was an oily film over an otherwise fresh prawns, which to our dismay was also doused in sesame oil. The same applied to pieces of squids as well.

Much as we tried, we had to leave most of the Green Curry untouched. Something good came out from the fiasco after all - we now know where to avoid along Islington's Upper Street. In my opinion, Miso Noodle Bar squandered an otherwise fantastic location.

Miso Noodle Bar on Urbanspoon

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5 comments:

Krista said...

Yeah, this place kinda sucks. Try the Thai place up the road--Isarn. Or that other one Rabieng?

C K said...

Glad to know that I'm not the only one to think that. Will go try Isarn and Rabieng - they are a few doors apart along Upper Street. Any particular dish that I should try? I would always go for either Phad Thai or Green Curry otherwise.

mzungu said...

I was thinking of popping into Miso one day. Now I think I'll walk on by ...

Ruth said...

Definitely avoid! I ordered the chicken satay and rice and it seemed that everything was soaked in oil overnight. We could not finish out meal! Please AVOID as you are guaranteed disappointment!

Anonymous said...

MISO IS TERRIBLE. BURNT RICE WITH A SPLASH OF BUTTER!!!! DOES NOT FILL YOU UP! EXPENSIVE! DRY! TAKES LONG TO BE DELIVERED! AVOID AT ALL COST, IF YOURE HUNGRY FRY RICE AND STICK MEAT AND SWEETCORN IN THE WOK WITH IT. THATS WHAT MISO DOES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!