Review of 'Mr Meng'

I am always walking on Charing Cross Road going somewhere or another, often to Foyles just south of Tottenham Court Road station. On the way I have passed by an intriguing Chinese restaurant called “Mr. Meng”. “Intriguing” for two reasons, 1, there are no other Chinese restaurants on Charing Cross Road and, 2, more interestingly, the sign that says that Mr Meng is a famous chef from China. Whether or not the later is true, I cannot say, but it was interesting enough to give it a try anyway. In any case, a restaurant devoted to Chinese noodles is not something you see every day, sure, Japanese or even Italian (!), but Chinese? More unusual.


The interior is quite dim and dark, decorated in black and red (an imperial colour) with several tables in the front section with an open, though high walled, kitchen and ordering area on the left. A few booths are located at the back as well but I was seated at a table near the door. The menu is on two sides of laminated paper divided into “Noodle Soup” and “Dry Noodles” then on the other side, “Noodles”, “Dessert”, “Appetizer”, and “Cold Dishes”. There are only a limited number of options with helpful recommendations along the bottom. I decided to go for the “Highly Commended” “Braised Beef Noodle Soup” (£9.80) with a (Chinese) tea on the side (£2).

Noodles with Beef in Brown Sauce

The restaurant was not busy and there was no music playing so I passed the time for a few minutes alone waiting for my food which arrived about 5-10 minutes later. The soup was served in a large bowl and was exceptionally hot. Both in spice and temperature. So much so that the only real flavour my poor taste buds could discern was the quite tender beef. The half slice of boiled egg was cold and offered a bit of a respite to the ferocity of the dish. The noodles were perfectly fine, very much like Japanese ramen while the vegetables were plentiful though in such large pieces it was difficult to eat with the provided spoon and chopsticks.

Service was perfunctory at best, for example, I wanted to try the intestine as it is a bit different and it is something I like but I was advised “no, you don't want that, that is the inside of the animal, try the beef instead”. I wish I had ignored her. At another point, having been given a rather large cup/pot of tea I could not quite figure out how to take out the filter which was built into the lid without making a mess of the table. The server came along and did it for me, removing the lid, placing it upside down on the table then putting the filter on top of it. I was grateful for this though the tea ended up also being ferociously hot, this time in temperature and it was only after about 10 minutes could I even take a sip.

Overall, the price was quite reasonable but the dish I had was too spicy despite being “Highly Commended”. I can deal with heat but where it overwhelms all other flavours in the dish, I think it is a bit of a waste. If I were to return, which I doubt, I would definitely pick something else from the menu (the “Dry Noodles” were ordered by a neighbouring diner and looked quite good – they were not struggling to eat them so this suggests they were not very spicy as well). If you do visit and get the tea, be sure to note the instructions above about how to drink it…

Rating: “Not great, but not the worse”

Review Date: 2022-10-01

Cuisine: Chinese

Address: 103 Charing Cross Rd, London WC2H 0DT ENGLAND

Public Transport: TUBE Leicester Square TUBE Tottenham Court Road

Location: London (England) - Soho



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Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7052 5351