I know that queuing patiently is an admirable and much vaunted English tradition, however I draw the line at queuing for half an hour to get into a mediocre noodle bar. Unfortunately, that is what you have to do to sample culinary maestro Alan Yau’s latest offering, Cha Cha Moon. The combination of the Yau name and the £3.50 opening prices (which seem to have been going for several months) meant that queuing appeared unavoidable.
As you queue you can entertain or torture yourself (depending on your level of hunger) by peering through pink plexi glass to your left and into the busy kitchen. Our group of six queued adjacent to the dumpling station and so it was entirely predictable, and a triumph of behavioural psychology that when we finally were seated we immediately ordered several serves of dumplings to start.
We were allocated two wooden benches at the large communal tables so it was three to a bench. After queuing for so long, I had hoped to get at least a whole seat to myself. Nevertheless, balanced precariously with one cheek on the edge I sampled the much anticipated dumplings. The dumplings did taste as good as they looked – tiny bundles of translucent pastry stuffed with minced chicken and vegetables.
Things went somewhat downhill from here though, there was some confusion with the mains we had ordered with the wait staff giving the wrong meals to the wrong people, meaning that meals had to reordered. Despite this being the error of the wait staff we were charged for all the meals, however given the super low prices I did not have the heart to complain. When my meal of Zhajian mian finally arrived it looked fairly uninspiring. I have to say that the combination of minced pork and mushrooms was filling but somewhat monotonous in taste. MTV boyfriend had the roast duck noodle dish which boasted noodles with an identical flavour to the Zhajian Mian and was topped with dry and sallow looking roast duck.
In my view it is better to stick with Yau’s high end restaurants, there are plenty of better cheap and cheerful places to get a Chinese noodle fix in London. Better still, most of them don’t involve a queue.