Chop Chop Noodle & Salad Bar – Mini Review

Salaams and welcome back to the Halal Blogosphere where we headed to China Town in Birmingham last night for the opening night of BRB’s enchanting performance of Cinderella at the Birmingham Hippodrome. We’re not just purveyors of good food here at the Halal Food Review we do like a bit of art!

If you’re heading into China Town it does make sense to try something Oriental for your pre show dinner. Sadly its not that easy to get a good halal Chinese in Birmingham in terms of the full sit down experience. Fortunately we do have a number of noodle bars around the country to keep us going to get a mini Chinese halal experience! So if there are any budding restauranteurs reading this please open a decent full sit down halal Chinese eatery in Birmingham!

Chop Chop Noodle & Salad Bar is located directly across Birmingham’s famous albeit now looking slightly run down Arcadian Centre on Hurst Street, it is located next door to the nearly equally famous Mr Egg an institution with clubbers who need a post party fix. They serve halal food too for some of our partying / clubbing Muslims …. moving swiftly on!

What about the food I hear you cry.

Chop Chop follows the standard noodle bar model where diners select a noodle or rice base, then add their choice of meat, seafood or vegetarian extra followed by selecting a sauce or flavour. What I do like about Chop Chop is that they have some interesting and new flavours that are unique to the chain rather than one of the other branded outlets. It gives you more reason to mix and match your dining experiences. A full menu is attached further down the review for your reading pleasure.

Chop Chop Noodle & Salad Bar has limited space for eating in, they have 3 or 4 bench style tables. I’d imagine most of their diners will opt for a take out option. Sitting in is fine but it can get a bit steamy with the live cooking taking place.  Apologies for lack of photos in this review, we’ll see if we can get some added at a later date, We didn’t have the best conditions for photography.

We opted for one selection from the mixed meal which includes a drink and prawn crackers. I opted for the Stir Fried Chicken Chow Mien with Egg Noodle whilst the wife opted for the Pad Thai with Rice Noodles. The Pad Thai was a definite hit, it really had some unique flavours and tastes, I definitely went for the safer option which was of a good quality too but it lacked the spark and adventure of the Pad Thai. Credit to the chef he did tell me I had gone for the safe option! The one big difference I did note between Chop Chop and Chop N Wok is the level of sauce with the dishes. Chop N Wok noodles come with a lot more sauce, sometimes too much sauce which sits at the bottom of your noodle box. Chop Chop has a lot less sauce. Can I be really demanding and state that my preference would be for a sauce quantity and consistency in between the two! I do like Chop Chop’s longer flatter boxes, it spreads the meal out a bit more and their noodles seem to be easier to eat without making a mess! So if sauce is a factor it might come into play on where you decide to eat!

Service was a highlight, the front of house staff were really friendly, they knew their menu and were not afraid to recommend suggestions to us. They were friendly and courteous without being overbearing. I like it when staff are passionate about their food and are happy to share what they would order from the menu, it gives me a bit more confidence in a place I am eating in.

Overall our dining experience at Chop Chop was enjoyable, its good simple food at a reasonable price and perfectly located in the heart of ChinaTown. Its definitely more of a take out place, but if you need to stay in and eat you’ve got the benefit of having seating available albeit limited. This is very useful in the current bleak Winter conditions in the UK.

http://mychopchop.co.uk/menu.html

22 Hurst Street,Birmingham, B5 4BN

 

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Late night Eid meal

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Salaams and welcome to the Halal Blogosphere, inshallah our readers from around the world have or are celebrating Eid!

We’ve had a biriyani overload today which we had to sleep off during an early evening siesta! To satisfy our taste buds this evening we hit Chop N Wok in Shirley. The team were in the process of closing for the day and I wouldn’t blame them for thinking why did these guys come in when they did. We initially had 5 minutes to eat our meal but all credit to the staff they hung around so we could eat at a more leisurely pace and having a chat with the waiters at the same time.

The great thing about the Shirley branch is it stays open a bit longer until 11pm but you need to get last orders in by 10.30pm. Also I noticed Shirley do a kids menu too, I can’t remember seeing that in the city centre branch.

This blog entry is our first trial with our new smartphone courtesy of the wonderful team at HTC, so you can look forward to seeing more short and sharp updates in full technicolour!

In the meantime enjoy your Eid and may your prayers and duas be accepted!

 

Chop Chop Halal Chinese KGB Deal – 2 Dine for £10, 4 for £19

Salaams and welcome back to the Halal Blogosphere.

KGB the site that keeps giving is at it again, no sooner had the Fargo’s Food Factory voucher deal come to an end we have our next halal food discount fix. This time its a new kid on the block, one that even the Halal Food Review has not tried.

Chop Chop is another new Halal Noodle concept that has opened in the city centre this time in the Chinese Quarter, well it makes sense doesn’t it.

So if you fancy a cheap Chinese you best be quick as the voucher expires in 6 days. At least that’s what our fortune cookie tells us. So you’ve got no time to lose, chop chop!

Until the next time happy eating.

http://www.kgbdeals.co.uk/birmingham/deals/104111/an-eat-in-or-take-away-meal-for-two—chop-chop—birmingham

 

Lahore Karahi Chinese Birmingham – Halal Food Review Discount Voucher

The team at Lahore Karahi Chinese on the Highgate Road in Sparkbrook, Birmingham are offering a 25% off your total bill discount exclusively for Halal Food Review readers.

The offer is valid Sunday through to Thursday each week until the 12th April 2012. The offer is only valid if you PRE BOOK YOUR TABLE via their website or by calling the restaurant directly.

To book online visit http://www.lahorekarahiltd.com/lahore/index.html  and use the live table reservation system or the contact us page. When completing your booking please quote Halal Food Review 25% Offer in the comments section.

Bookings can also be made by calling 0121 773 7575.  When booking by telephone please quote Halal Food Review 25% Offer.

Once a booking has been made you will receive a confirmation message by text which needs to be shown when you arrive at the restaurant.

Please remember the discount code is only available for pre booked tables and is not valid without prior booking.

 

Chop and Wok Mini Review

After a longer than anticipated break we’re back with two halal food reviews for one. I’ve spent the last month reviewing arts assessments and its good to be back to reviewing food.

Chinese is the new Indian well at least thats the case when it comes to Halal food in Birmingham, we’ve already reviewed Oodles n Noodles and today we review Chop & Wok a fantastic new concept with two outlets in the city. Both Chop & Wok restaurants in Birmingham primarily service takeaway orders, the Suffolk Street branch has very limited seating with the Cannon Street branch having a more dedicated albeit tiny seating area upstairs. For the purpose of this review we’re looking at the Cannon Street branch.

Chop & Wok offers a simple menu concept offering diners a choice of either salads or wraps or a comprehensive range of stir fry options. The dining menu is perfect for lunch times and a post work pick me up!

In terms of decor the Cannon Street outlet is beautifully designed, the concept is fantastic with pod style seating upstairs giving you a bird’s eye view of your stir frys sizzle and cook. My only criticism is that Chop & Wok have picked such a small outlet for their central branch. From a design and aesthetic perspective the branding, colour schemes and urban feel are a super smash hit. The owners have paid real attention to detail and I’d love to see the template used on Cannon Street rolled out to a larger establishment.

Food I hear you cry!

Chop & Wok brings power to the diner and creates a uniquely individual dish to suit the taste of each customer. For the stir fry menu diners are offered a range of options including noodles, rice and vermicelli as bases for the stir fry. This is then complimented by a choice of meaty extras including chicken breast, beef strip steak, tuna, prawns, salmon and duck. Vegetarians are not forgotten with tofu and oriental vegetable options. Next is my favourite part which is adding a unique flavour to your dish drawing inspiration from food capitals of the world including Mumbai, Delhi, Singapore, Kuala Lumpar, Tokyo, Beijing and Hong Kong! The wrap and salad menu follows the same concept with even more varied and rich flavour combinations to choose from!

I chose medium egg noodles, chargrill strip steak cooked in Sweet and Sour Hong Kong sauce. There is a range of extras on the menu which allow you to vary your dish further or add a side accompaniment. It was great to watch the food being prepared in front of me as I sat in a slightly space aged pod seat upstairs. The food itself was amazing. The stir fry is served in a paper box which is great from a recycling perspective but can result in the problem of the rich sauces and flavours seeping through to the bottom creating a mini flood of flavour as you reach the end of your dish! My advice after having eaten at Chop & Wok three times is to constantly work your noodles and ingredients to ensure the flavour and sauce works its magic all the way through! The beauty of the concept is you can mix and match a range of ingredients and flavours making each trip to Chop & Wok a new experience for the tastebuds.

The stir fry is available for a competitive £5.80 and a special lunchtime offer is also available offering a stir fry, drink and prawn crackers for a competitive £6.00.

Service is professional but be warned if you do go in at a busy time be prepared for a wait due to all the dishes being freshly prepared. Chop & Wok also offer a free delivery service for orders over £10 within a two mile radius accessible through a well designed website that can take the stress out of waiting for your fusion of flavours.

I would heartily recommend Chop & Wok to anyone looking for an authentic and tasty stir fry experience!

For more information check out the website at http://www.chopandwok.co.uk/

Food 9/10
Service 7/10 (all good things come to those who wait but it can test the patience of any saint at peak times!)
Space 9/10 (love the concept but I want more table covers!)
Prices 8/10

Overall 8.5/10

Oodles Noodles Mini Review – Birmingham

Salaams from the Halal Blogosphere.

After what feels like a lifetime I am back to provide a quick mini review of Oodles Noodles in Star City, Birmingham. I’ve been thinking about going to Oodles Noodles for a number of weeks now but have always found a reason or an alternative which has kept it on the radar but off the pages of the Halal Food Review.

This past weekend I finally managed to find the time to head to Oodles Noodles with the family in tow. We arrived mid afternoon after the quickest and most productive shopping trip ever. The restuarant is based in Star City which is great for free parking but there is something about Star City which simply doesn’t inspire me. Living in South Birmingham I can quite easily find any number of reasons not to travel to Star City and its not always the distance!!!!

We arrived to an almost empty restaurant which is always worrying especially during half term in Star City with a car park full of visitors. Its hard to be inspired when there is a lack of buzz or energy in the dining area. The décor is modern and classy, the lighting and colour scheme are well done and as a diner you have a good level of visibility of the kitchen area.

What did strike me was the number of staff who were just standing around in an empty restuarant it took a few moments for me to get the attention of a waiter to come and take our orders. We ordered two chicken dishes in the Desi Wok and Stir Fry variants, in hindsight it might have been good to experiment with a beef or vegetarian second option, both were accompanied by noodles.

The dishes arrived super fast which can only mean most of the food is pre prepared which I’m never sure is a good thing or a bad thing. The Desi Wok was a sweet and mild dish whilst the Stir Fry had enough chillies to make your heart race and set fire to your taste buds! I have to confess both dishes were absolutely first rate, the portion sizes were just right. If you’re used to Abu Zayd portions you will leave hungry but the menu definitely delivers on taste and flavours.

The Oodles Noodles concept is simple but brilliant, I can’t remember the last time I have really enjoyed a lunch meal with the family and what really stood out was the clear flavours in each dish which you can often lose out on in so many halal restaurants.

Whilst the food was great and the décor is of a high standard I thought the service was found a bit wanting. The restaurant also seemed to lack an ambiance due to so few diners in a large dining space. On a personal level I’d love to see something like Oodles Noodles in the city centre, the quality of the food would definitely draw in the punters and you just can’t help feel it would benefit from the energy and intimacy that you so often experience eating at a Wagamama.

Prices are competitive and portions are ample though some readers may disagree but its important to judge food on flavours rather than quantity.

If you are in Star City territory then Oodles Noodles is well worth a visit. Service standards could improve and it would be great to try it out again when there are more diners in the restaurant. Oodles Noodles scores a very positive 7 out of 10