Where To Find The Best Noodles in London
Noodles are one of those foods that always offer endless comfort and reassurance. Even a bad plate of noodles is still, like a bad post-season 9 episode of The Simpsons, satisfying in its familiarity. I’m as partial to a packet of instant noodles as the next person but there’s something about freshly made noodles that can’t be beat. It’s the texture more than anything that does it for me – a chewy, unyielding bite that’s much firmer than pasta and makes you feel like you’ve earned every mouthful.
Making your own biang biang noodles at home isn’t as hard as you might think and we’ve got plenty of brilliant noodle recipes on this website that you try out in your own kitchen. But I’m also well aware that having a bowl of noodles made for you by a bonafide expert is on another level entirely. Some restaurants in London have been hand-pulling fresh noodles for years and all those endless hours of experience have resulted in them mastering the art. If you want to taste that art – and have a metaphorical lick of those wriggly wheat Matisses – then here’s where you should be going. Yes, this is a list of where you can find the very best noodles in London. I’ve kept this list to dry noodles only and excluded dishes like ramen and laksa because noodle soups really deserve a list of their own.
As always, if I’ve missed out on your favourite noodle joint (and said noodle joint is not objectively terrible owing to your clapped palate) just let me know and I’ll try it out to see if it’s worthy of inclusion on this list of the best noodles in London. Until then, happy slurping.
As the younger sister of the sheng jian bao-shilling Dumpling Shack, Fen Noodles had a pretty big reputation to live up to when it opened in Old Spitalfields Market at the tail-end of 2019. Thankfully, this noodle bar – where every portion of fresh noodles is hand-pulled to order – has not only met those expectations but raised the bar to a whole new level. The noodles are thick, chewy, come dressed in a range of tangy sauces, and hit the mark on everything you’d expect from a good bowl of belt noodles. Vegetarians will be pleased by the garlicky aubergine number but anyone who’s even mildly into meat should consider ordering the cumin beef biang biang noodles – a warming, umami dish with a chilli kick that’ll pleasantly tickle the back of your throat.
The Kitchen, Old Spitalfields Market, E1 6EW
Good food is undeniable, and the moment that you realise you’re eating it can happen in an instant. It’s there in that furtive glance you make across the table at your dining partner as both of you work your way through an especially long – and especially chewy – belt noodle. It’s there when you’re duelling chopsticks over the last “cold skin” noodle of liang pi, swimming in a paddling pool of chilli oil at the bottom of the bowl. It’s there when you order another bowl of both because “why the hell not?”. It’s all there at Xi’an Impression.
117 Benwell Road, N7 7BW
A lot of restaurants have a hero dish that they’ve become the most synonymous with – a plate that transcends the restaurant itself and has lodged itself firmly in the zeitgeist. Or, at the very least, lodged itself on the feeds of Instagram influencers. At Smoking Goat, it’s the fish sauce chicken wings; at Bancone, it’s the silk handkerchiefs; at Four Legs (RIP), it was the Dexter cheeseburger. The hero dish is typically the plate that looks the best in photos and has a relatively easy sell. It’s rare, however, that that hero dish is actually the best thing on the menu. That’s not the case at Kiln, though, where the clay pot baked glass noodles – a glossy tumble of Tamworth pork belly and brown crab meat that puts all other renditions of surf and turf to shame – more than live up to the hype. The best noodles in London? Quite possibly.
58 Brewer Street, W1F 9TL
I said there would be no noodle soups on this list of the best noodles in London, and I meant it. While Koya’s udon noodle soups are lovely, the Japanese outfit also earns a spot here thanks to their immaculate dry noodles. Koya’s hiyashi udon are served cold and can come garnished with everything from pork mince and miso to beef shin with grelot onion tempura. A delicious, refreshing dish that doubles as convincing evidence for the “cold noodles are better than hot noodles” debate.
50 Frith Street, W1D 4SQ
Noodles don’t always have to play by the rules to be delicious and Noodle Neighbour is the perfect example of a pop-up that understands how toying with flavours and traditions can result in a truly individual and genuinely exciting plate of food. Noodle Neighbour’s handmade biang biang noodles are (mostly) plant-based and you can find them divvying out metres of the stuff in South London on a fairly regular basis. Every portion is hand-stretched by chef Max Brown to order and you can tell that there’s been real man-hours put into every service; previous genre-defying dishes have included a Sicilian-inspired number where chef Max dressed his QQ noodles in roast aubergine, fresh tomato, fresh basil, chilli oil, and black vinegar. Like I said, Noodle Neighbour doesn’t do it by the book. But who needs a rulebook with noodles this good?
Handmade noodles are brilliant. When they’re done right, they can be the highlight of a meal and something you find yourself daydreaming about on your lunch break for weeks until you finally cave in and return for another noodle-y hit. When they’re done wrong, though, they can be a gummy, grainy mess. Murger Han makes their very own biang biang noodles that fall firmly into the “done right” category. The simplest approach is often the best, with Murger’s spring onion and chilli oil noodles biang biang being the most straightforward option on the menu, yet it’s their tomato and egg version of this simple dish that I find myself returning to time and time again. A London lunch classic.
62 Eversholt Street, NW1 1DA
Silk Road is one of those IYKYK restaurants that’s become so well known that it’s no longer IYKYK but simply: YK. That being said, it’s still really good and – taking the price into consideration – one of the better places to eat Chinese food in London. The T.E.P. noodles (that’s tomato, egg, and pepper) are very good; the lamb shish noodles are a fun ride on the grill train; and the Xinjian-style fried noodles are a familiar melange of upfront flavours. The secret, of course, that ties together all those dishes is Silk Road’s glutinous noodles: the perfect wide, seatbelt-esque carb for standing up to the bold flavours of Sichuan cuisine. Give Silk Road a go if you want to eat on the cheap and tell people you know a “hidden gem” that’s extremely unhidden yet still extremely satisfying.
49 Camberwell Church Street, SE5 8TR
Noodle & Beer
If I was handing out awards to the restaurants in London with the best names then I’m 99% sure that Noodle & Beer would be getting a very shiny statue in the mail. And when it comes to restaurants in London that have the best noodles, Noodle & Beer is pretty Oscar-worthy as well. Chongqing noodles (or xiǎomiàn as they’re known as in China) are the star of the show here, arriving dressed in a medley of spicy chilli oil, garlic, sesame ginger, spring onions, and preserved Sichuan pickles. All of the wheat noodles are freshly made in-house and have an addictive elasticity that will have you funneling them into your mouth like you’re a Henry Hoover until your bowl is bereft of carbohydrates. The chicken gizzard noodles are the ones to order, in my opinion, and starting with a portion of liang pi is highly recommended to ensure optimal noodle consumption throughout your meal.
31 Bell Lane, E1 7LA
BAO Noodle Shop
Every BAO in London has its own USP and the hook of the group’s newest joint in Shoreditch is Taiwanese beef noodle soups. I know what you’re thinking: “But Lucas, you said you weren’t going to include noodle soups on this guide!” And I’m not. While the noodle soups are definitely worth ordering here so, too, are the vegan dan dan tofu noodles. This dish might sound like a plant-based compromise in comparison to the large bowls filled with blushing rare beef but it’s actually up there with the best of the restaurant’s plates. They’ve got a nice chew to them and a salty, spicy flavour profile that’s extremely conducive to drinking cold beer.
1 Redchurch Street, E2 7DJ
Operating out of The Jackalope pub in Marylebone, Liu Xiaomian is a culinary project from Liu Qian and Charlene Liu aimed at introducing Londoners to the sultry, spicy, slurpy appeal of Chongqing-style noodles one bowl at a time. Seasoned with soy sauce, garlic, chilli oil, ginger, and Sichuan pepper, Liu Xiaomin's chewy noodles have the perfect amount of tensile strength to stand up to the heat of their sauce. The secret to Liu Xiaomian's success lies in the homemade chilli oil – a seductive and scarlet ointment that'll numb your mouth like a night out.
43 Weymouth Mews, Marylebone, W1G 7EQ
Chinatown has a lot of great restaurants competing for your stomach space but if it's noodles you’re after then Joy Luck is the spot that deserves your small intestine’s attention. The Wuhan dry noodles here are hot, spicy, and extremely moreish – a savoury smack of sesame paste being the ingredient that holds the whole thing together. They’re so good that one portion isn’t really enough. That’s why my advice to you is to order two bowls, eat about one-and-a-half of those when you’re actually in the restaurant, and get them to package up the leftovers in a doggy bag for your breakfast the next day. That’s a pro move right there.
47 Gerrard Street, W1D 5QJ
The noodles so nice they named them twice, dan dan noodles are one of my favourite styles of noodles on the planet. And when it comes to who does the best dan dan noodles in London, Mao Chow is a very serious contender. This poky vegan noodle shop might not top its dan dan noodles with rich and fatty minced pork like the traditional recipe calls for but they more than make do with a uniquely meaty mushroom mince. Not only are Mao Chow’s dan dan noods spicy and peanutty perfection but they’re also not the only noodles they serve. The burning noodles (spicy wheat noodles with pickled mustard greens, toasted sesame, and spring onions) are hot and happening, too.
159A Mare Street, E8 3RD
Chef Guirong Wei has quietly been making some of the best Chinese food in the city since Master Wei opened in 2019. Shaanxi food is hard to come by in the city and Wei does an excellent job at underlining what makes that province’s cuisine so special. The wide belt biang biang noodles are brilliant but it’s the liang pi that takes the crown as the restaurant’s best noodles. Those cold skin noodles are spicy and refreshing and come served on a bed of cucumber, tofu, bean sprout with lashings of chilli oil. It’s one of the strongest plates in London for under £10.
13 Cosmo Place, Bloomsbury, WC1N 3AP
Xi’an Biang Biang Noodles
Simple concepts, when executed well, are capable of providing the most satisfying restaurant experiences. Xi’an Biang Biang Noodles is a spot that understands where its strengths lie, putting all its eggs in a basket of stretchy and starchy biang biang noodles. The hand-pulled belt noodles with cumin lamb is one of the best dishes on the menu and a bargain considering how large the portion is.
62 Wentworth Street, E1 7AL
This compact Japanese restaurant on Old Street might specialize in slurpable bowls of ramen but it’s their soup-less dishes that have become their calling card. Monohon’s abura soba is a dry noodle dish where thick and chewy ramen noodles are dressed in a sesame oil-based sauce (or ‘tare’) and tossed with spring onions, fried shallots, slow-cooked pork, seaweed, pickled ginger, and strings of cayenne pepper. Topped off with a soft poached egg that boasts a perfectly oozy yolk, it’s a dish that slams you with savoury flavour every mouthful. If that doesn’t sound like heaven to you, then you’re probably not actually all that interested in the best noodles in London, are you?
102 Old Street, EC1V 9AY
The clue is in the name: order the noodles at Chang’s Noodle. Specifically, make sure you order the Shan Zi Yo Po Noodle. It’s a fat-off bowl of hand-pulled noodles where slices of soft beef brisket contrast wonderfully with the rubbery stretch of the noodles and the crunch of fresh veg. A real meal of a dish.
36-38 New Oxford Street, WC1A 1EP
Like Koya, freshly made udon noodles are what Marugame Udon specialises in. Marugame Udon isn't a small independent (there are 800 MU sites in Japan and a further 250 around the world) but the sheer size and scale of the operation works in their favour. It's one of the reasons they can afford to keep their prices so low with udon bowls starting from £3.45. While most are soup-y options and therefore disqualified from being on this list, the yaki udon are all fair game. The kimchi yaki udon is my pick of the litter; stir-fried udon are thrown around with kimchi, cabbage, red peppers, onions, carrots and bean sprouts. Coming in just under £6, that dish is a lunchtime essential if you ever find yourself knocking around Liverpool Street.
Lucky & Joy
If I could marry the sesame noodles at Lucky & Joy, I would. I’d propose to them on Lower Clapton Road (where we had our first date and I first laid my eyes on them) and we’d have a small and intimate wedding at a nice church somewhere in the Cotswolds. I’d only invite my family and closest friends and make sure that we had an open bar. Because no-one likes a wedding where you've got to pay £8 for a double G&T. Anyways, the hand-pulled room-temp noodles here are an adverb village of nutty, luscious, spicy, and absolutely marriage material.
95 Lower Clapton Road, Lower Clapton, E5 0NP