I was reading up on some of my fellow food bloggers and they all seem to like this beef noodle place hidden in a corner mall at Willingdon and Moscrop. Finally, after reading Kevin's post, I finally relented and decided to try it out. With a name like #1 Beef Noodle House, there are some lofty expectations. Well, I almost didn't have a chance to explore those expectations because the parking lot was jam packed! Not only were cars double-parked, they were triple-parked! Alas, I couldn't just leave and head over to Lao Shan Dong since I was actually meeting Vandelay for lunch (he got a parking spot). So while in the parking lot, I spotted a trail that lead to the street behind the corner mall. So I had to do some creative driving to get back heading north on Willingdon, so I could turn left onto Moscrop and then left onto Barker. Once there, you can park on the street and it's only a 1 minute walk over to the restaurant.
Once inside, I was pleasantly surprised at the modern decor. Most of these "noodle" places are not the most trendy of places. It was bustling with activity (it's almost noon), and I can see why other bloggers have suggested to arrive earlier or later to avoid the rush. Naturally, we decided to order the Spicy Beef Noodle (there's non-spicy and tomato broth as well). I can honestly say the bowl of noodles was very good and quite large. There's more than enough noodle, beef, Shanghai bak choy and broth for one person. I thought the highlight of the noodles was the beef. It was beef calf muscle that had been braised slowly until it was ever so tender. The soup was indeed spicy and it was was rich in flavour (lots of meat taste). The noodles were just right - not too soft, but not too chewy (although some of them were stuck together). Moreover, the bowl of noodles came out piping hot.
We also ordered a bowl of Preserved Cabbage and Pork Noodle and it was good as well. The clear broth was flavoured by the stir-fried mixture of cabbage and pork on top. It was a lighter tasting bowl of noodles compared to the beef noodle. We actually ordered those noodles because we accidentally ordered the Dumplings in Soup. It was in the noodle section of the menu and we thought it had noodles. It really didn't matter since we needed more food anyways. The dumplings were quite good, filled with lots of meat and green onion; however, the skin was on the thicker side. In addition, we ordered a few smaller items: Marinated Dried Tofu, Marinated Large Intestine (yes, that is not a misprint), Wontons in Chili Sauce and Five Spice Beef in Green Onion Pancake. The highlight of these items was the beef in the pancake. Although the pancake itself was a bit thick, it was cooked perfectly. Combined with the beef and hoisin sauce, it was soft and warm on the inside, while being crispy on the outside.
The pork wontons were bathed in a chili sauce consisting of vinegar, chili oil and soy. It was good, nothing to write home about; but it was pleasing to eat. The marinated tofu and intestine were alright as well, nothing special. However, the intestine was a bit gamey tasting. I know it's supposed to be that way, but it could have been rinsed a bit more during it's preparation. For those who are wondering why I'm eating large intestine... it's an acquired taste. Anyways, the service was friendly; however, it was definitely sparse since the place was so busy. So is #1 Beef Noodle House living up to it's name? I would conditionally say yes. Why conditional? Well, I've had some good beef noodle at other places too. I would need to return to those places and do another comparison.
- Excellent beef noodles
- Good portions
- Good selection of food and drinks (they got bubble tea here too)
- Parking, what parking?
- Sparse service when busy
- Cash only
#1 Beef Noodle House
4747 Willingdon Avenue
11:00am - 12:00am (Sun - Thu)
11:00am - 2:00am (Fri & Sat)