London’s essential Xi’an Chinese restaurant — Xi’an Impression, in Highbury — has quietly opened a second, much larger site, in Spitalfields. Xi’an Biang Biang Noodles, on the corner of Petticoat Lane and Wentworth Street, just north of Aldgate East, opened this week. Eater contributor Ed Smith, via the writer Audrey Gillian, confirmed that the bigger, canteen-style restaurant belongs to the same operators behind the small, walk-in only site opposite Arsenal FC’s Emirates stadium.
Although it had been thought that an outpost of Jason Wang’s New York City cult favourite Xi’an Famous Foods was opening in London, that rumour turned out to be false. The momentary cause for such excitement wasn’t without justification: The hoardings on the restaurant windows had advertised, albeit in a different font, “Xi’an Famous Food Opening Soon.” Whether or not the use of the singular versus the plural in this case avoided any litigation is now moot; the restaurant has changed its name (although its Google listing still refers to Xi’an Famous Food.)
Xi’an itself is a large city and the capital of Shaanxi Province in central China, which marks the Silk Road’s eastern end. The cuisine from the region specialises in wide hand-pulled “belt” noodles, covered in an umami-rich Sichuan pepper corn, soya-based, chilli sauces — served with Chinese greens; braised beef; or cumin-spiced lamb. Elsewhere there are fine cold skin noodles, with sesame or chilli sauces; smacked cucumber salads; boneless poached chicken in special sauce; and wonton and Qishan soups.
- Xi’an BiangBiang Noodles [Rocket & Squash]