Drink & Dine

Hare & Tortoise – Delicious noodles worth a trek to Putney


I’m always a bit sceptical of places in London that sound like Japanese salaryman haunts, especially when they are a chain. Sure, they may be “authentic” but rarely does the food excel and instead mimic the quality of our standard British pub grub. That being said, it came recommended by a fellow Yelper and, given our extreme lack of knowledge about food options in Putney, Yee Gan and I decided to try it out.

Eel maki roll

Eel maki roll

And wow, this place is good. I don’t mean that it merely exceeded by decidedly low expectations for the joint, but more that it blew my socks off. We opted for a mix of Japanese and Malaysian, starting with a unagi (eel) and cucumber roll that boasted thick slices of rich bbq eel on each piece. We also got some kara-age which is basically fried chicken but done miles ahead of anything else in London. The bite-sized chicken pieces were perfectly cooked and each juicy bit was coated in a light crunchy tempura batter. It seemed to be served with takoyaki sauce – a great tangy accompaniment to the bits of fried chicken.

Beautifully presented kara-age

Beautifully presented kara-age

After cleansing our palates with some freshly squeezed orange juice, we moved on the Malaysia portion of the meal. Here I’ll have to defer to Yee Gan as to exactly what the noodle dish was called but I can tell you it was pure awesome. Thick noodles stir fried with fresh veggies , Chinese sausage, and prawns in a very moreish sauce were served in a bowl easily large enough to feed a family of four. I particularly like the sweet Chinese sausage with and slightly spicy bite. After looking at the menu, I think what we had was Char Kuey Tiew – definitely a recommended dish!

By far my favourite noodle dish of all time!

By far my favourite noodle dish of all time!

Next to it, we received a bowl of chicken laksa which could have doubled as a second Olympic swimming pool in a pinch. Given that we had gorged on the noodles, I almost didn’t have space but decided on a taste anyways. The rich hearty laksa was delicious and warmed you up from head to toe. If only it wasn’t so heavy!

Laksa time!

Laksa time!

By the time we were done, I could barely get up from my seat and was in serious danger of curling up in the corner for a food coma nap. But, alas, we had a concert to attend in which our very talented Hannah W was performing. More on that to come (and yes I’ll be writing it!).

Other thoughts…décor wise it’s pretty Spartan and the staff are friendly and helpful but need a bit of encouragement to attend to you as they seem to have perfected being non-obtrusive. Prices are very reasonable especially given the sheer amount of food you get. I’d suggest ordering 1-2 mains less than the number of people if you are in a larger group as you’ll easily get enough to stuff yourself without the guilt of wasting food!

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