Freddie Janssen’s Top 5 Noodle Restaurants in London

Author of Pickled and one half of Snackbar London Freddie Janssen shared her top 5 London noodle spots.

Koya Bar Udon

Koya. Freddie says, ‘Hands down the best udon noodles in town. My go-to dish is the Kitsune Udon, a beautiful and simple hot broth with sweet tofu and spring onions. Always order the house-made pickles as well, and something from the specials black board — they tend to have some great things on, especially during game season. Also, my favourite place in London for solo dining.’

Koya, 50 Frith Street, W1D 4SQ; 10–12 Bloomberg Arcade, EC4N 8AR

Cold noodles at Xian Impression

Xi’An Impression. Freddie says, ‘The biang biang noodles here are the one. Hand pulled, bouncy noodles in chilli-spiked oil. Make sure to check if it’s a game day — it’s opposite Emirates Stadium so whenever there’s a game on, all the offies in the area stop selling booze, so grab a bottle of wine or six-pack before you hop on the tube/bus/Uber. Also, Rowan’s Bowling is around the corner — I find that going for noodles at Xi’an, then for some bowling and a couple Jagerbombs to be close to the ultimate night out.’

Xi’An Impression, 117 Benwell Road, N7 7BW

Chilli Cool. Freddie says, ‘My friend Kat Chan and I once decided we were going to make a web show about two girls eating their way around the world, for each episode exploring one specific theme. Our pilot episode was about noodles: we explored ramen, udon, and as we were both obsessed with dan dan noodles — one of the segments was called ‘The Dan Dan Showdown’. We visited five London restaurant that served dan dan and decided that Chilli Cool was the best of all of them. Everyone makes and likes dan dan a certain way (soup-y or sauce-y, thin or thick noodles, with sesame or peanut). This one was perfect in our opinion. The pilot never got made by the way.’

Chilli Cool, 15 Leigh Street, WC1H 9EW

Cacio e pepe at Padella

Padella. Freddie says, ‘One of the most Instagrammed dishes in London yeah sure, but their Cacio e Pepe with pici noodles is THE BOMB. A bit of Rome in London.’

Padella, 6 Southwark Street, SE1 1TQ

Photo: wEnDy on Flickr 

33 Cranbourne Street. Freddie says, ‘Also known as Lanzhou Noodle Bar, this tiny joint on the outskirts of Chinatown is known for its doing two types of noodles: la-mian (the thin hand-pulled noodles) and dao xiao mian — which are shaved noodles that go straight into the stock. I love the chewiness of the shaved noodles. Get the brisket soup one. The place doesn’t look like much; it’s proper café style with bright lights and steamy windows but totally awesome.’

Lanzhou Noodle Bar, 33 Cranbourne Street, WC2H 7AD

Photo of Freddie by Helen Cathcart