Vietnamese is one of my favourite cuisines, bursting with fresh flavours and spices, and one that somehow seems healthier than other Asian cuisines. When newly opened Noodlemi on Bonham Strand enticed me with slogans such as ‘bitemi’, ‘cravemi’ and ‘eatmi’, I could hardly resist, especially given how close it is to my office!
Noodlemi, set up by Duyen and Jeremie, two very passionate individuals, is not just another regular Vietnamese restaurant; it prides itself on being completely free of MSG and gluten (apart from the sandwiches, which of course contain wheat). It’s an adorable little space packed full of bright, lively colours to create something modern and totally different to the usual Vietnamese restos we see all over town.
Our super healthy and delicious feast began with some soft shell crab summer rolls from the ‘wrapmi’ section of the menu, obviously. These were filled with an exciting collection of leaves, avocado, cucumber, carrots, crispy shallots, and of course the all-important and wonderfully tasty soft shell crab, which had the perfect balance of crispy and tender. Dipped in the homemade nuoc cham sauce, these were utter perfection.
From the ‘eatmi’ section, we tried the steamed chicken salad with crunchy cabbage and herbs. This refreshing blend of tender chicken, crunchy cabbage, white onions, shallots and peanuts, dressed in a sour and spicy sauce was incredibly moreish. Yet when the ingredients are so fresh and good for you, who cares if you polish off the whole bowl?!
Unlike other Vietnamese restaurants, Noodlemi doesn’t want its pho to be the focal point, yet it kind of is without even trying to be, for Noodlemi’s beef pho (under the heading ‘lovemi’) is possibly one of the best I’ve tasted. Although the flavour might be milder than elsewhere, it’s a real flavour, made by boiling beef bones, together with spices like cinnamon, star anise and ginger for six hours, without a trace of MSG. Seriously when it tastes this good, who needs MSG?! The beef was incredibly tender and the flat rice noodles cooked to perfection. I know what I’ll be eating very often during the cold winter months.
The turmeric white fish with scallion and dill on rice vermicelli was just begging to be tasted (it was calling out ‘choosemi’ – I had to!). The lightly battered morsels of fish were beautifully tender and absolutely delicious, sprinkled with a blend of spices that warmed me right to the bones. Together with the slightly chewy rice noodles, crispy bean sprouts, cucumber and carrot, finished with aromatic coriander, I can see why this is already one of Noodlemi’s most popular dishes.
Last but not least, we couldn’t leave without trying Noodlemi’s special banhmi (if it politely says ‘bitemi’, how can I not?), loaded with Vietnamese salami, cucumber, chilli, carrot and plenty of fresh coriander. Although it wasn’t the easiest dish to eat, it was absolutely delicious, made even more so by the perfect crusty baguette.
Unfortunately neither my one-hour lunchbreak nor my already full to bursting stomach allowed for dessert, yet I’ll make sure to try the vanilla terrine with fresh berries on my next visit, which may well be later this week!
Service was initially a little confused, but the staff are all very friendly and it is clear that a lot of passion goes into every dish that is created. What’s even better is that for such delicious and nutritious food, provided you don’t eat as much as we did (there were only two of us!), you won’t even need $100. I mean it when I say I’ll be going back very, very soon.
G/F, 2 Bonham Strand
Tel: +852 2253 1113