October 30, 2011 Chinese, City Centre, noodles, soup 3 Comments

Hong Fu Noodle Bar is just across the road from my work. I’ve walked past it countless times, and always thought, “I must try it.” When I was asked to recommend a place for a big group of friends, it seemed like the ideal opportunity to do just that.


I recall being in the place when it was a bar, on the odd occasion, and the layout remains very similar. We were a party of 11, so they’d set us up at a simply appointed round table, somewhat in the style of the court of King Arthur. Given its location, looking out over Princes Street, you can’t help feel that something more could be done with the location, but maybe that will develop in time.

Standards of promptness (aside from Kevin and David) were nowhere near what I’ve grown used to under the expert guidance of MJ. Once we were assembled, we decided to go for a large range of dishes from their extensive menu. The attentive waiter took our starter order first, to get the ball rolling, then soon popped back to capture our main course requirements.

I ate soup (!) with the tomato and egg proving a very pleasing choice. It was light, subtle and an excellent opener.


Others ate various dumplings, that seemed “well caramelized” on the underside (they looked burnt to me), but were positively received.


The portions of squid, munched on by my fellow diners, were particularly large, and looked to be very tasty.


The ribs looked good, as did the cucumber salad, which our vegetarian guest, Sandra, tucked into.


While we are on the topic, Sandra has agreed to write a regular contribution highlighting vegetarian dining experiences in Edinburgh, which we hope will be a useful addition to our merry little site.

Ana’s starter took a little while longer to arrive, and I’m not 100% it was what she ordered, but this was the only major blip.

Main courses soon followed, with a impressive array of items, supplemented by some rice and noodles to share.


My Irish Mussels were huge, meaty green-lipped chaps, served in a ginger-infused sauce. I was really happy with them. The photo, above, does them little justice.


Other dishes were warmly received, particularly the Mongolian beef, which was served in something that looked like an ice-cream cone, and the mountain chicken.


A vast plate of trotters also did the rounds, to nods of approval.


I sampled a nicely prepared prawn in dry chilli.


Again, Ana didn’t have much luck with her dish, which looked somewhat unspectacular by comparison.


Towards the end of our mains, a huge group of Chinese diners came in and sat next to us, although we were separated by a curtain. They were loudly enjoying matters, feasting on dishes that looked decidedly “off menu”, and chugging shots with some abandon. ‘The Only Way is Beijing’ was the phrase that sprung to mind.

My group of friends are huge devotees of Wing Sing Inn, and will proclaim to all who will listen that it’s the best Chinese place in Edinburgh. The compliment that they paid Hongfu was to talk of it in the same sentence, saying that it was the first place they’ve come across that could be considered as a challenger to its supremacy.

Overall, I think Hongfu has solid claims on being one of the best restaurants of its type in Edinburgh. Ana would strongly disagree with that, but I don’t think I’ve ever eaten in a large group where there hasn’t been at least some dissent (something about not being able to please all of the people, all of the time etc). The balance of opinion, as related in the extensive scoring, below, rates Hongfu as very good. I’ll be back to review its set lunch menu, over the next couple of weeks, given its handy proximity to my place of work.

Today’s Lunch Questers were: Kevin, Douglas, Phil, Sandra, Michael, Malcolm, Ana, Andrew, Alan, David, Blythe

We ate: Tomato and egg soup, assorted dumplings, salt and chilli squid, mountain chicken, trotters, irish mussels, roast duck, tiger prawns in dry chilli sauce, vegetable chow mein, mongolian beef, noodles, rice, and many other items.

We wore: fuschia shoes, geometric pattern waistcoat, striped shirts (4), black shirts (2), red crown logo, floral top, chest hair poking out of white shirt.

We drank: Fosters, wine, Tsintao, Guinness

Scores

Kevin scores Hongfu:
4/5 for food
4/5 for presentation
3/5 for setting
4/5 for service
giving overall 15/20

Douglas scores Hongfu:
4/5 for food
4/5 for presentation
3/5 for setting
3.5/5 for service
giving overall 14.5/20

Phil scores Hongfu:
4/5 for food
4/5 for presentation
3/5 for setting
4/5 for service
giving overall 15/20

Sandra scores Hongfu:
3/5 for food
4/5 for presentation
3/5 for setting
3/5 for service
giving overall 13/20

Michael scores Hongfu:
4/5 for food
3/5 for presentation
2/5 for setting
4/5 for service
giving overall 13/20

Malcolm scores Hongfu:
4/5 for food
3/5 for presentation
3/5 for setting
4/5 for service
giving overall 14/20

Ana scores Hongfu:
2/5 for food
2/5 for presentation
1/5 for setting
3/5 for service
giving overall 8/20

Andrew scores Hongfu:
4/5 for food
4/5 for presentation
3/5 for setting
4/5 for service
giving overall 15/20

Alan scores Hongfu:
3/5 for food
4/5 for presentation
5/5 for setting
3/5 for service
giving overall 15/20

David scores Hongfu:
4/5 for food
3.5/5 for presentation
2/5 for setting
4/5 for service
giving overall 13.5/20

Blythe scores Hongfu:
4/5 for food
4/5 for presentation
3/5 for setting
4/5 for service
giving overall 15/20

Total bill: £267.20 (11 diners)

Hongfu Noodle Bar on Urbanspoon

Written by TheDudley