Gugsu kickstarts noodle box journey in London Whitechapel
UK’s fast food noodle bar concept has steadily been growing over the past decade, with a number of well-established Halal brands having now made a significant mark.
Having chosen the size of your meal box size ranging from small, medium, large, or jumbo; you then get to choose from a selection of bases revolving around rice, noodles, and fries; before considering between a dozen freshly-made toppings.
If creating your own isn’t your thing, then there’s eight combo boxes to consider including the signature Gugsu Box with soba noodles, vegetable fried rice, salt ‘n’ paper chicken, and caramel chicken.
Situated on Whitechapel High Street, this 20-cover restaurant’s vibrant black and yellow colour scheme underscores a strong brand concept for Gugsu, with effective use of neon signage, as well as an Instagram-friendly plant-wall.
Gugsu offer a good assortment of starters, the best of which turned out to be their selection of soups, with one packing a solid punch.
Despite only a pair of small prawns and some rubbery squid rings, our pick of the starters was the Seafood Tom Ka Soup, which was driven by a deeply flavoured, buttery, coconut broth that offered mushrooms and onions, before ending with a sour note.
As for the Tom Yum Chicken Soup, then with plenty of lime leaves underscoring its gingery broth, we appreciated the gentle heat of the red chillis along with the chunks of moist chicken therein.
The weakest of the lot was the crispy Vegetable Spring Roll, which was more potato than vegetables. On the other hand, the Sticky Wings made up for their small stature with a fairly robust smoky-barbecue glaze.
Although the Prawn Crackers went well with the soups, we’re not sure a couple of quid justified half-a-dozen of them.
And while the batter of the Crispy Tempura Prawns was certainly light and crispy, the crustaceans, despite being relatively moist, did betray a slight odour (although nothing off-putting).
The Crispy Chilli Prawns weren’t anywhere near as crispy as we were expecting, with barely any heat coming through.
As such, the Udon Noodles simply did not have much to work with, while the Steamed Fried Rice appeared unseasoned. In the end, this entire combination fell flat on its face.
As for the Subo Noodles, then given their thick and chewy texture, they would to be our choice over their Udon cousins, especially since they were beautifully coated by the sauces from the two toppings.
We also recognised by this stage that the secret to getting the most out of these combo boxes was to give everything therein a good mix before diving in.
Opting again for the Steamed Fried Rice and those thick Subo Noodles, the Basil Beef was the best topping we tried, with a satisfying chewiness to it, and a good balance between the heat, the smokiness imparted by the action of the wok, and the flavour of the basil.
However, the lamb didn’t quite match up to the depth of flavour delivered by its beefy counterpart. Granted it was tender and succulent enough, its mellow flavour quickly petered out to something far more subdued.
- NO/ NO
- CHILD SEATING
- UBER EATS
- JUST EAT
While all the food is freshly cooked and routinely topped up throughout the day, the very nature of mixing 'n' matching invaribaly leads to hits and misses. Some combinations work while others won't. In Gugsu's case, a few of their items did lack in flavour.
Overall, however, they have more than enough that works to encourage repeat visits, especially given their loyalty card. What's more, Gugsu is available for delivery through their partners Uber Eats, Just Eat, and Deliveroo.
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68 Whitechapel High St, Whitechapel, London E1 7PL.
T: +44 (0)20 7650 7601 | W: www.gugsu.co.uk
Opening Hours: Sun-Thur 11:00-22:00 | Fri-Mon 11:00-23:00