arking is famous for its fishing industry - that was until it closed down in late Victorian times. It is famous for its pound shops and it has a wide selection of kebab shops though it isn't especially famous for them being great. For that you'd need to visit Stoke Newington or Green Lanes.
Its these kebab shops though that I want to write about. Or rather, it is is the fact these venerable establishments now have a rival in the form of the Yaki Noodle House. Conveniently situated opposite the station, the Yaki is a newly opened cafe/restaurant selling a mixture of classic noodle dishes, ramen soups, Chinese, Vietnamese and Thai dishes. In fact, the whole of Oriental Asia is at your beck and call.
First, I've got to start of with two observations before we even get on to the food. It is clean. I mean, really, really clean to the point where you could probably perform operations safely there. You would pick up MRSA anyhow. I dropped some money and floor was completely dirt free. It looks it, and I know now, it feels it. Good. Noodle places are really just Taiwanese factory canteens. Food should be quickly served, pleasant but basic, with no frills service and presentation and I think any South Korean factory would be proud to have a place as clean as the Yaki serving its workers. Secondly, it is empty. This is cause for concern as two friends of mine have recommended it to me. My friends aren't unusually weird in their choice or opinion of food. But on a Friday night, I'd expect there to be a reasonable selection of Barking's finest there. Sadly, there was me, Adam-no-mates, and two others. Two more came in for a take-away, and that was it. I can't see how a place this empty can operate for long, so let's just hope the word spreads.
And the word, from me, is a good one. Excellent is what the word is. I can find very little to fault with anything. I know this sounds more than a little partisan, perhaps bland beyond belief, but my baptism by noodles was at the Tai Wan Mein in Greenwich. Yep, Wagamamas may be older but the TWM was where it all started for me and it will always set the benchmark. Yaki puts it to shame. Not only is it clean, but the lady who served me was friendly and courteous, the food was served on nice white, square plates and the food contained just the right balance of everything to be...well pretty much unfaultable. I had lamb in sao sa sauce (not sure what this is, but wanted to try it). It was mildly curry-ish, with hints of coconut and chilli and served with peppers and just-so fried lamb peices. No sign of MSG. Noodles were basic, plain and completely grease-free. Spot on.
I hope the Yaki does well. Barking deserves it as is almost nothing outside the kebab zone (plus a smattering of so-so curry houses, plus a selection of actually rather good curry houses). Yaki fulfils the Barking main food need - cheap and lots of it. The fact that my plate was also of fine quality helps things along nicely.
Its just a shame no-one else knows about it yet.
Value: £5.50. 10/10
Overall: ***** Excellent