Review: Wei’s noodle house
726 Somerset St W, Ottawa – (613) 230-6815
Date of Visit: July 7, 2013
On a shopping trip to Ottawa’s Chinatown one Monday afternoon, I planned to hit Ju Xiang Yuan to sample a few appetizers but, unfortunately, it turned out that they are not open on that particular day of the week. Instead, I happened to spy Wei’s Noodle House, which I have never noticed before and which , I think, may be relatively new. I wasn’t especially in the mood for a large, filling noodle meal by any means but I figured they must have a few other things on the menu and decided to give the place a try…
Ambience and service
As is probably apparent from the above picture, Wei’s is a little hole-in-the-wall sort of place. It seats only 28 patrons and is sparsely decorated with rather unfortunately garish yellow walls. It is, however, comfortable and clean.
I arrived about 5 pm and was the first supper customer. A number of tables were taken just shortly after I arrived though, so it appears the place is somewhat popular. There were two servers on duty that day and both were friendly and efficient, each speaking English with native fluency.
The menu is not extensive in length but has a lot of variety. It is a bit of an eclectic mix of Chinese, Vietnamese, and Thai, with a few dishes from Malaysia and Singapore thrown in for good measure. It leans heavily, as the restaurant name suggests, towards noodles and rice dishes but there are other appetizers and entrees as well. There are also a number of intriguing things listed that are definitely not standard for your generic ‘Asian’ restaurant.
Cucumber Salad with Shrimp
This consisted of lettuce, batons of cucumber and shredded carrot topped with small shrimp and coarsely ground peanuts. There was Nuoc Cham on the side but there was also a mild salad dressing whose make-up I couldn’t identify. Basically, it was like a nuoc cham without the fish sauce but it also had a little coriander in the mix as well. The effect was quite nice but not especially interesting. Rating: 3 out of 5
Pork wrapped with Betel Leaves
I was curious to try this as I have not had betel leaf before. I was rather expecting something strongly herbaceous in flavor but this wasn’t the case. There was a mild aroma and flavor I couldn’t place but whether this was the betel or not I cannot say. The pork filling was coarsely ground and mildly seasoned and was pleasant but a little bland. There was nuoc cham on the side again but I really didn’t think it complimented the rolls very well. Some of the sriracha supplied at each table would likely have been better. I still enjoyed this dish. Rating: 3 out of 5.
Boiled pork dumplings
This was a bit mediocre and I rather think the wrapper was a pre-made, commercially made type as it was a bit thick and chewy in the middle while friable at the edges. The filling, seemingly just ground pork and scallion, was a little bland and the sweet soy sauce dip on the side needed a little hot sauce to make the whole dish interesting. Rating: 2 out of 5.
The service here was good but the meal I had was not terribly exciting. Still, I only sampled a small portion of what looks like an interesting menu so I am planning a return trip sometime to see what they do best. Rating 3 out of 5.