Le Mien Craft Noodle
Address: 43 William St, Ottawa
Hours: 11:30am – 8pm (Mon – Thu); 11:30am – 9pm (Fri – Sat); hours may vary during/after pandemic
Hand-pulled noodle soup maker Le Mien had just been hitting its stride in 2018-19 when in that spring they became collateral damage of a fire which destroyed neighbour Vittoria Trattoria. All the great word of mouth and social media hype went on hiatus as repairs proceeded for the next year and a half.
I hadn’t managed to get there during their heyday, so I made a visit after their re-opening in late 2020 a priority. In between lockdowns this year, my wife and I popped in for a late lunch.
Their menu is quite minimalist (minimalist in options – its design is quite visually loaded), with just five types of noodle dishes. However, you can mix things up with six different options of noodles – four varying thicknesses of round noodles, and two of flat.
My wife chose the traditional beef soup, while I opted for the pickled cabbage and beef. We both ordered the medium size ($15.49), but as we would soon see, a small probably would have sufficed. These portions are BIG!
The traditional beef was warm and comforting, with plenty of slices of tender beef. Green onions and some chili paste expanded the flavour profile, without over-complicating the dish. The “two xi”-sized noodles (the second largest round ones) had a light, pleasant chew, and never got soggy. The soup isn’t all broth either – the noodles and all the other ingredients were in proportion to one another.
My soup was exactly the same as the traditional beef, but with a generous portion of chopped, pickled cabbage. I really enjoyed the lightly sweet tanginess that it brought to the rich soup, as well as a bit more spice. Despite their relative thinness, my xi noodles didn’t dissolve into a starchy mess either. They know their noodles here!
We had prime seating by the window, which not only let us people watch in the Byward Market, but we were also directly across from the chef who was the hands behind their hand-pulled noodles. It’s just about the only meal-with-a-show that you can get these days! It’s a great sales tactic, as plenty of passerby stopped to watch, and like us who ate the noodles, won’t soon forget Le Mien.