Mall food courts are mostly sad, and you can’t really complain since they are serving you stuffs at quite reasonable prices. So they kinda strike a balance between street side unhygienic food and chef’s ultimate masterpieces; and try to get you something having elements from both the worlds. Ultimately they deliver something which won’t leave a bad aftertaste in your mind, and maybe on your taste buds. Mall food courts are somewhat upgraded versions of corporate office canteens which sometimes help you take sick leaves which would have expired otherwise! Anyway let’s get straight to the point why I am saying all these about mall food courts. Recently I tried out The Noodle Story at Lake Mall food court in Kolkata. And to be very honest, I haven’t heard of this brand before I tired their food here. So I didn’t have any preconceived notion about this place or their food. They have food kiosks and can be found in several city malls these days. They serve oriental cuisine and try to give you a tour around the Asian gastronomical hot spots through various sauces which you can choose as the base of your meal.
Their menu is pretty precise and rather brief. They serve you Baos for starters, soft drinks for beverages and in the main course you have full independence to choose and construct your oriental meal. You can choose each and every ingredient that will go into your meal, so you won’t have to compromise with any ingredient, its taste or aroma that you can’t stand! Having such an outlet in the food court is unbelievable in the first place that lets you build your meal from the scratch; it is kinda DIY exercise for your taste buds. Let me brief you a bit so that this idea of constructing your own meal is clear –
Step 1 – Choose one base (variants of noodles, rice – like yellow noodles, tomato noodles, spinach noodles, whole wheat noodles, soba noodles, udon noodles, rice vermicelli noodles, Thai flat noodles, etc)
Step 2 – Choose vegetables (broccoli, zucchini, pokchoy, bell peppers, tofu, baby corn, etc), every vegetable chosen has price tagged with it.
Step 3 – Choose proteins (like egg, chicken, fish or prawns). Every protein chosen has price tagged with it.
Step 4 – Choose one sauce (here all the sauces are named after one Asian country that represents one typical sauce well known in that geography. For e.g. Malaysia (Malaysian Chili sauce), Indonesia (Spicy hot garlic sauce), Korea (Fragrant bean sauce), Thailand (traditional chili basil sauce), China (homemade Szechuan sauce), Vietnam (sweet and sour tamarind sauce), and Japan (red pepper and sesame sauce).)
Step 5 – Choose toppings (like fried onions, fired garlic, sesame seed, peanuts, etc)
And yes, apart from these you get veggies like cabbage, onion, carrot, green capsicum and spring onions in your dish free of cost.
Once you choose all the ingredients, your order gets placed and then it takes really little time for them to put all of those together and to get your meal prepared.
I had tried out all their Baos and believe me; I will go back to them for these lovely Chinese buns. Right now they have got four kinds of Baos which are served in pair per plate. These amazing steamed starters have generous filling inside them and I loved the cottege cheese bao, mushroom cheese bao and definitely the Char sui chicken bao, which was insanely good! The Cantonese vegetable bao was also nice and perfect for vegetarians. The buns were extremely soft, smooth and bouncy! The baos are must-try if you are at The Noodle Story.
Coming to the mains, I tried the Udon noodles with red pepper and sesame sauce, and it was loaded with our choice of proteins and veggies. The stuff was tad overcooked maybe to suit the Bengali palate but otherwise it was flavorful and was above the standards of food that you get at this mall. The Thai flat noodles went well with traditional Thai chili basil sauce which was spicy yet had a subtle aroma of sweet basil and garnished with crushed nuts on top, the dish looked amazing with the galore of shrimps, fish and chicken in there.
The rice vermicelli noodles with sweet and sour tamarind sauce proved to be an interesting and a rather unique combination which I had never tried before, and actually it was nice though I felt it to be a tad dry. In the past, I have had rice noodles in soothing subtle flavored broth, but this combination here was somewhat poles apart from what I had tried with this noodles. After these three combinations, we also tried soba noodles with fragrant bean sauce and couple more combinations which were kinda run off the mill for me.
Surely I was there not to test the authenticity of those world cuisines they’re offering, that would have been a bit too much to ask for from a mall food court kiosk. I really wanted to taste the food keeping in mind the setting were it is placed, the crowd whom they are serving, the pricing which they have to maintain at any cost to stay alive in this competitive market. And keeping all these stuffs in mind, I guess the food was worth a second visit. And so I would rate this place 3.75 out of 5 which is really good I feel. And wish them all the best for their future endeavors. Hope we will get a standalone classy outlet of this brand pretty soon in our city! In the meanwhile, if you are at a mall and you spot Noodles Story there in the food court, then don’t think twice, surely go for their Baos and order for your customized oriental meal at such reasonable prices. Hope you get a quick trip ‘round the noodlehood that you have been dreaming ‘bout!
P.S. – The author was invited to taste the food and beverages at The Noodle Story (Lake Mall) by First Idea PR.