Murger HanHan is the Mayfair branch of Euston’s Murger Han and the pair of restaurants are specialists in regional Chinese cuisine from Xi’an City in the Shan Xi Province – the home of the legendary Terracotta Warriors of the Qin Dynasty. Along with various other unique aspects, they’re apparently the only restaurant in Europe to serve traditional drinks from Xi’an City such as Ice Peak Orange and Xi’an rice wine.
I hadn’t actually heard of them until recently – I’m always open about my general dislike for Asian food but if there’s one way to get me into an Asian restaurant it is most definitely to promise me anything with bread, and that’s exactly what Murger Han offer. Named after the “Murger”, their menu is based around these creations – considered the Chinese equivalent to the Western hamburger and probably the world’s oldest sandwich or hamburger dating back to the Qin Dynasty (221 – 206 BC). The “Muo” burger bun is made from a wheat flour batter and baked in a clay or mud oven before being deep fried with fillings. Combined with their house special slow cooked pork (inspired by the Zhou Dynasty – 1045 BC to 256 BC) it forms their signature murger.
Other signature dishes include their Hand-Pulled Noodles – the chefs at Murger HanHan make fresh noodle dough every morning and upon ordering the noodles (or should I say noodle!) is hand-pulled into one single noodle that is 8 feet long!! It is then cooked with your choice of various sauces, soups, fillings and toppings. All of their noodles are made with wheat rather than rice as the Shaanxi province does not harvest rice (much to my surprise – in my ignorance I assumed every province in China grew truckloads of rice!).
Now soup is also something I’m pretty particular about – in Winter I love nothing more than a steaming hot bowl of soup to warm me up, but it usually has to be tomato or veg based, and served with mountains of warm buttered bread for dipping! Of course, Asian noodle soups are a world away from this, and despite never voluntarily choosing them, I ate a hell of a lot of them when I was in Shanghai for a badminton tournament a few years ago! The Murger soup however, has the Murger chopped into bite-size pieces running throughout, with a slightly different dough used than for the classic Murgers in order to create a crispier, almost crouton-like texture – a real mix of Chinese and Western cuisines!
The noodles themselves are delicious – they had wonderfully chewy texture unlike any other noodles I’ve had before. The soups were pretty hard to eat, given that the whole dish consists of one giant noodle, but my parents (who have actually been to Xi’an City and eaten BiangBiang noodles and murgers there) said the smell and taste was remarkably authentic, if a little unnecessarily greasy (they add chilli oil after cooking which I agree is probably not needed – the dish is more than tasty enough as it is!).
Of course my favourite dish was undoubtedly the murger – served piping hot and stuffed with soft pulled meat (they do beef as well as pork). Like the soups they were a little on the greasy side, but delicious nonetheless. Unfortunately they’d run out of a few dishes on the evening that we went, but our second-choice (the seafood mixed veg clay pot noodle dish was actually my favourite of all of the noodle dishes). It comes with a mix of noodles, chunks of tofu and a generous helping of seafood, and unlike the BiangBiang noodles and their chilli beef house special, it was a lot less oily.
There’s only one dessert on offer, but luckily for me mochi is one of very few Asian desserts that I really do like. I’m not sure if the flavours change but I got one sesame (which I had to swap with my parents had as I struggle with sesame allergy wise!), one mango and one green tea, both of which were lovely!
Overall it certainly was the unique dining experience that they promise. The restaurant is quite classically Asian – it’s quite cramped inside, service is slow and a little chaotic and the food comes as and when it’s ready, but the staff are lovely, I trusted my parents’ judgement when they said the flavours were authentic, and it was absolutely packed full of Asians, which I can only take to be a good sign!
Link to their website: http://www.murgerhan.com/index.php