Master Wei is a woman.
Her name is Guirong Wei, and it seems important to say it right upfront, because the name ‘Master Wei’ might imply otherwise. But she’s a master of her craft, so that’s what it’s called. In fact, she worked her way to become the only female head chef in her home city of Xi’an – an achievement it’s tough to overstate – until she moved to London to head up the acclaimed restaurant Xi’an Impression. A few years in, she now has her name on her own solo spot.
You’ll find it in Bloomsbury, a few yards away from Russell Square. The space is simple, and does the job – it’s not an intimate date spot, and it’s not going to blow you away with silver service. But you will find a comfortable, cushioned seat, a welcoming atmosphere, and a fantastic meal.
But the most important part of this whole operation is the menu. And the most important thing on the menu? The biang biang noodles. They’re called that because when they’re made, they’re stretched and slapped onto the work surface, making a resonant banging sound (or rather a ‘bianging’ sound, apparently). What comes out are fat, long ribbons that almost seem like pappardelle. And – little bit of trivia – the Chinese character used for their name is one of the most complex in modern usage, taking 58 strokes to write. You can literally make the noodles quicker.
But boy do they tase good. Lovely, chilli-slicked belts of oodles goodness served with buttery smooth pak choi, textured morsels of pork and tomato and egg – but they should be savoured alongside a slew of Xi’an street food classics, like the potsticker dumplings and rou jia mo flatbreads stuffed with beef. Yep, it’s basically a Chinese hamburger. And to drink? There’s a pretty broad assortment, including some European wine, some Chinese plum juice, some “ice salty tea”, and a mixed drink that involves lemon juice, Sprite, and Yakult.
Not sure about that one? Just go with your gut.
NOTE: Master Wei is open now. You can find out more, and book a table at the website right HERE.
Master Wei | 13 Cosmo Place, WC1N 3AP
If you like this, there’s a lot more where it came from… check out our guide to the best Chinese restaurants in London.