Minoodle is the latest addition to the ever-changing area along the top of Sanlitun bar street; that of Friend (now Miles), the original Heaven Supermarket, and the newly deceased Two Guys and a Pie to name a few of the erstwhile neighborhood tenants that spring immediately to mind.

It's an odd little place, the noodle shop. A hodgepodge of stylistic influences, clean and orderly (front of house is strictly for service and sitting, the kitchen is out the back of the unit into a different building) with friendly staff, and Hollywood movies on the two TVs. You eat off the top of sturdy wooden chests, which is almost impossible to do comfortably if you're cursed with long legs.

The food is ... passable. A plate of Wasabi Prawns (RMB 28) arrived disconcertingly temperate, but satisfying. The zhajiangmian (RMB 26) (I gather it was highly recommended; it had six exclamation marks after it on the hand-written menu) was tasty but again, oddly heated being neither cool nor warm. The xihongshi jiandan mian (tomato and fried egg noodles) (RMB 18) were satisfying though the blasted egg could have served to have spent a minute less in the frying pan.

The whole experience was given a firm fillip by the option to try imported Taiwanese sodas including Hey Song Sarsaparilla (RMB 12).

Open through till 1am daily, the spot will do some good business with the multitude of bars in walking distance, and after a few beers, your far less likely to notice lukewarm food or a slightly overdone egg.

Unit 1, Bldg 38, Sanlitun South, Chaoyang District (150m west of Sanlitun Police Station) (130 1114 3108)

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Photos: Paul Ryding

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