'I went to the handmade noodle restaurant hidden down a tiny alleyway and they were the best I've had in London'

“Oh my god Jess, you have to try this noodle place!” my friend text me as I posed to quickly respond, “Why do I have to though?” But before I clicked send, she gave me my reasons. A string of mouth-watering snaps followed, as juicy looking meat sat in a large bowl of glossy liquid with rainbows of colour calling for me into zoom in for up close food shots.

I had to visit. The place in question was Ye Ye Noodle and Dumpling, a tiny little restaurant hidden down an alleyway between the businesses of Liverpool Street and bustle of Spitalfields. Opened less than a year ago, they serve handmade noodles and dumplings that are even better than they look – trust me.

Found on Artillery Passage, the space is cosy and bright, decked with simple wooden furnishings with a handful of seats upstairs and a couple more tables in the small basement floor. This is a place designed for comforting, quick and authentic eating. No frills but all the flavour. And I took the best seat in the house: a stool at the counter, watching the two chefs freshly cook up each order of noodles and dumplings. A feast for the eyes.

food, 'i went to the handmade noodle restaurant hidden down a tiny alleyway and they were the best i've had in london'

Ye Ye Noodle and Dumplings is hidden down Artillery Passage

I watched as the chef inspected each dumpling as he tenderly lifted them from the steamer, ensuring each one was of absolute perfection before touching a plate. Eagerly awaiting my food I could hear chatter between slurps of noodles, an oddly high number of Justin Bieber tracks playing through the speakers and oil sizzling, all muted by the hum of the kitchen’s extractor fan. And while I was lost in this sensory soundscape, my four Handmade Grilled Juicy Pork Dumplings (£6.80) arrived.

These were like no dumplings I’ve ever had before. They were similar to the homely British dumpling my mum layers over a stew but also similar to the steamed dumplings you’ll find endless baskets of in Chinatown. Ye Ye’s are made with a semi-fermented bread, pan-fried for a golden, crispy, yet also dough-like thick base with a steamed, soft white top to create this perfectly packaged present of pork.

food, 'i went to the handmade noodle restaurant hidden down a tiny alleyway and they were the best i've had in london'

Grilled Juicy Pork Dumplings

A simple minced pork packed it full, bursting with its juicy meaty flavour and sharp stabs of chive. The pinched tops of the dumplings, no one shaped the same but all similar, are sprinkled with sesame and flakes of spring onion to serve as both tinges of taste and humble decoration. These humble, handmade, explosions of delight are definitely better than the Istu ones sitting at the bottom of my freezer – I can’t even compare them.

But preventing me from finishing off all four hefty parcels is the arrival of the incredible Handmade Spicy Beef Soup Noodles (£11.80). A glistening ruby broth holds folds of glossy noodles, bright leaves of coriander and shiny chunks of beef. The long noodles were thick and soft, wiggling through the bowl and coating itself with the magical broth that’s been cooked lovingly for hours and hours.

And when I say magical, I mean a deep, intense, beefy broth singing with spice that could blow out any cold or bad spirit. But the best part of it all had to be the beef. A generous amount of the dark meat (perfectly pink inside) were unlike any meat I’ve had in a bowl of noodles before. The pieces literally fell apart as my chopsticks touch them, melting away into the spicy thick broth. It was all so moreish and delicious I was lost in the meaty, fiery taste. I’m talking nose running, slurping from the spoon – the works. I was in heaven.

This meal was so, so, so good. Easily the best noodles I’ve ever had in London. And probably the best dumplings too. With each bite you can almost taste the care that has gone into making them. This is like wizardry. A humble practice that’s second nature to the chefs, and I’ve had a spell cast over me.

It’s a decent price in my opinion too. The noodles alone could have filled me up for the rest of the day, it’s truly filling, hearty food. Plus, a visit to Ye Ye Noodle and Dumplings is much more rewarding than a scramble around Spitalfields, trying to find somewhere with a short queue and decent price. I can’t wait to go back.

You can find Ye Ye Noodle and Dumplings at 14 Artillery Passage London E1 7LJ.

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