photo credit: Giulia Verdinelli
You were going that way anyway. No really, you were. So they happen to live on that street, big deal, that doesn’t mean they own this part of town, right? And sure, you’ve been thinking about them. A lot. But you needed to come to Bloomsbury anyway, for that trip to The British Museum. You’re just a big fan of hieroglyphics. Always have been. But seeing as you’re here, you might as well pop in. Say hello. It would be rude not to.
These are some of the excuses you will tell yourself as you go an hour out of your way to get back to Master Wei in Bloomsbury. This place is from the people behind one of our favourite Chinese restaurants in London, Xi’an Impression, and if you like that place, you’ll like Master Wei because the food here is just as excellent. One trip to this laidback Xi’anese restaurant and you feel like a cold skin liangpi noodle has wrapped itself around your hippocampus, squeezing out pretty much everything else you care about. All you can think about is how the texture of those noodles is as springy as a kid at trampoline club, or how that chilli oil is spicy, and tangy, and just a touch sweet in the best possible way. Rent due? Heartbroken? Forget about it. This place is totally affordable and the smacked cucumber salad will never let you down.
Inside, there’s some exposed brick, some lit-up portraits of Xi’an landmarks, simple black chairs, and a bar space with a couple of beers on tap. It’s casual. And although it’s not quite as intimate as Xi’an Impression, you’ll still be excited to be here. Because sitting down at Master Wei, knowing that you’ve made it back for another bowl of London’s best beef biang biang noodles is a feeling you’ll go out of your way to recreate. By the way, those noodles—those chilli heavy, chewy, thick hand-pulled noodles - cost under eleven quid and the portion size is on the Dwayne Johnson side of servings. The space is lowkey, but the food isn’t, and that’s really what takes this place from nice to a serious obsession.
We’ll admit that all this excited fuss might make Master Wei sound like someone you furiously date for six glorious weeks before becoming bored and indifferent. But this isn’t your bit on the side to those restaurants you’re already married to. It’s one of them. Everything from the location, the prices, the quality, the friendly yet speedy service, make it somewhere that becomes a long-term fixture in your life. Come here with friends to catch up on each others’ lives, or for a solo dinner to catch up with the cumin beef ‘burger’. You were going to this part of town anyway, right?
Salt And Pepper Squid
Think of this salt and pepper squid as your warm up act. You’re not specifically here for them, but you won’t regret giving them a bit of your time.
Spicy Smacked Cucumber Salad
Order this for the table, even if you’re the only person at the table. You’ll be nibbling on it between all your other dishes.
Traditional Xi’an LiangPi Noodles
Blah, blah, blah. Words can’t really do these cold skin, chilli oil covered noodles justice. Just go ahead and get involved. Buy six portions to take away and keep in your fridge so that you can live off of them for the next week. We’re completely willing to go a bit Fatal Attraction to get to these.
Potato Sliver Salad
On one of London’s rare sunny days this salad is like a high five. It’s crunchy, fresh, and the hit of vinegar will probably cause you to make a face like you’re half way through a gobstopper. It’s worth it.
Spicy Cumin Beef ‘Burger’
This burger is quite spicy and a lot delicious. Officially one of our favourite ways to spend a fiver.
Xi’an Pulled Pork ‘Burger’
Not quite as good as the cumin beef burger, which doesn’t mean this is bad, it just means the cumin beef burger is really great. A solid order if you happen to be, or be with, someone who isn’t that into the higher end of the spice spectrum.
Steamed Pork And Vegetable Dumplings
You’ll find better steamed dumplings in London, but these are still pretty decent. If you’re in the mood for some, go for it.
Beef Biang Biang Noodles
If the beef biang biang noodles had their own profile we’d manically stalk their account, entirely in love, and scared shitless that we accidentally like a picture from four years ago. So yeah, you could say we’re obsessed. Some of the very best biang biang noodles in London.
Hand-Pulled Noodles, XinJiang Style
You can get these for one person or two. Truth time, the one person portion will feed two of you, the two person portion will feed four of you. And they deliver a serious hit of chilli.