Miso Noodlebar, Croydon

I have been to Barcelona three times.  Only on my third visit did I start to get the hang of the place. It’s a frustrating city. You go to a restaurant that seems to be well liked by locals and they shove a wipe clean English menu in your hand and try to charge you seven euros for a fanta limon. Croydon isn’t much like Barcelona but a meal in Miso Noodlebar left me just as frustrated.

The food was average and served in huge portions – not necessarily a good thing if you don’t want to eat much of it. A special of Prawn Kare Lomen tasted not spicy, nor of lemongrass, nor of chilli, nor of ginger as described on the menu. The broth was a muddy katsu infused miso soup, salty and bland. The beef was half gelatinous, half chewy. The meal was bulked up with some deep-fried tofu which absorbed the murky liquid, became soggy, and tasted like an ill-treated sponge.

The teriyaki beef arrived so fast that there was no way, even in hell’s rapid cooking inferno, that it was made fresh. It was just teriyaki beef with a mound of rice – again the portion was huge. Prawn crackers were disturbingly uniform and tasted a little synthetic, the bowl was again generous – easily enough to share between four or more.

I may be being harsh, maybe this is an in and out noodle bar where service should be quick and food should be simple. I don’t think I am. As we were eating a large party came in and filled the back of the restaurant, they were served large plates of pak choi, char sui pork, other gloriously authentic looking plates of food. It looked and smelled fantastic.  The kitchen can obviously cook but they can’t be bothered with the walk in tourists (or locals for that matter) who order off the wipe clean menus. I look in on my way past most days and I know the staff here eat very well, food much better than they would ever serve the customers.  I felt like that disappointed Barcelona tourist on my own high street.

A table next to us ordered two plates of special fried rice. It was served on plates  heaped to the point of avalanche. Maybe this is the problem, Miso’s meals are average but grossly proportioned, perfect food for the average and grossly proportioned Croydon customer.

I have no doubt you can get a good meal amongst the mediocrity here but for me it is not worth playing Miso menu roulette.

The nitty-gritty:

I visited the one under the Croydon Flyover, next to Il Ponte with its ready served bowls of dust and olives.

Two meals, two teas and a bowl of prawn crackers was £18.

Miso Noodle Bar on Urbanspoon


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