Saturday, October 3, 2009

To Noble House We Go!!!!

Just as Mary-Kate and Ashley made their way to Grandma's house, so did I and my girls go down to Osu in Accra after work (you have to have been a girl growing up in the 90's to have seen "To Grandma's House We Go"). Sure it was mid-week but we were tired of working non-stop and had been eating bland canteen food for practically forever. As such, we felt it was time to do something different. We used the excuse of a birthday to make ourselves look pretty (you can trust that the men drooled at work lol), checked our wallets (end of the month means preparation for brokee week) and psyched ourselves for a tasteful dinner in a proper restaurant.

Traffic was pretty fair considering that it was Osu we were visiting. Thank goodness we knew better than to use the Oxford Street.
traffic in Osu
Picture source:
As you can see from the picture, Oxford Street isn’t exactly vehicle friendly when you’re hungry and need to drive to a restaurant. I prefer to park my car and walk when I have business in the area lol.

So where did we go?

The Noble House Chinese Restaurant!!! For those of you who don’t know, Noble House is in the same building (bottom floor) as the Heritage Indian Restaurant, on Salem Road, Kuku Hill, Osu.

Now, another problem with driving in Osu and especially the Kuku Hill area is with the narrow streets on which people have taken to parking (Ayekoo!!! Ghanaian drivers with their absolute lack of respect for other road users). So, basically, there was only one available lane for vehicles to maneuver on. Careful not to scratch up my new paint job, I “expertly” (the girls are probably rolling their eyes about now lol) slid the car into the parking space allotted to patrons of the establishment.

So we’d made it through Osu safely and now I was excited. I’d had a light lunch on account of I knew I was in for a huge dinner and my tummy was grumbling in a most unladylike way (how embarrassing!!!)

We were met by the giant imposing double doors of the Noble house Restaurant (trust me when I say they were proportionately heavy lol) and thanked our God when a smiling security guard wished us a good evening and pulled one open for us.

Waiting in the foyer was the ever smiling Shantanu Sen Gupta. I did not inquire as to whether or not he was owner and/or manager of the place but I must say that the man knew exactly what he was about. With perfect gentlemanly charm, he greeted us and led us to our table where he proceeded to help us into our seats. (Perhaps it’s that I don’t meet the right guys, but I don't know that many other men who would do that.)

So Shan (yes, he let me call him Shan lol) called over a waiter and after a heartfelt “Enjoy your meal” left us to finally soak in the atmosphere. I have to say that I was rather impressed with the place. The giant gong set up in front of the room had me yearning to run over to hit it. The room separators, Asian themed of course, were beautiful and I kept gazing at them as well as the lovely themed walls that some sections of the room were blessed to have.

For those of you who delight in holding huge to-dos, you will be pleased to know that Noble House offers Party Services, as evidenced that evening. There was a party being held behind a glass screen, partitioning the party people from us common diners lol. So far, it was very clear to me that Noble House can cater to your needs no matter the occasion; be it a Romantic dinner for two in a cozy corner of the world or a thrilling night out for your Year group Re-union.

I thought the glass partition was a bit out of place considering all the wood and colour on the walls....felt that it was a bit too Westernized for the set theme but then I'm a fussy woman who looks out for flaws in everything lol. I also found the uniforms for the waiters to be a bit much. Yes, they looked cute in their little ORANGE chinese themed shirts but without the matching shoes, white socks and caps, I guess it felt a bit fake to me. Orange walls, giant mural, glass partition, wooden room screens and Orange African Chinamen?  Nani?!!!! Perhaps the idea was to blend the waiters into the background....make them less conspicuous while they lurked and hovered, you know?

And yet, funny enough, I felt quite relaxed in there. It didn't feel like a "stuffy rich people" restaurant. It was the perfect place for friends to go have a good meal and conversation. The place was not over packed and Shan strategically placed guests in such a way that there was no way my noisy table could disturb other diners. (Trust me when I say that this was a good thing lol)

The ever-patient waiter took our drink orders and waited while we decided on what appetizers to try.  We decided on "Wonton Soup" and the oh so yummy "Chicken Lollipops".
chicken lollipops lollipop sticky tasty
In this picture:  “Chicken Lollipops

I am a big fan of chicken and have had it served up (and done so myself) in a great many ways. But this.....this was so different.  Chicken Lollipops are in actuality, the humerus of the chicken wing (Upper arm bone).  I am thinking that they are lightly seared and then cooked in a thick, sticky and oh so spicy tomato sauce.  They were served sprinkled with a slight scattering of chopped spring onion leaves.  Trust me when I say that had I NOT been in a restaurant and been provided with a fork and knife, I'd have done exactly what the name suggests.  Yes people, I wanted to pick up those puppies, stick them into my mouth and suck the flesh right off!!!  Alas, I had to comport myself and eat like a lady lol.

The soup was wonderful.  Light and brothy, the spring onions sliced thinly into the soup were not overcooked to mushiness and oh the wontons!!!  Nice hot savory packages to slide down my throat.  Granted they were large and I had to cut them into two before getting them into my mouth, but the light broth married so very well with the heavy interior of the parcels.  Yummy Yummy!

We had a hard time picking our meals for the main course.  Noble House serves authentic Chinese Cuisine and recently added a Thai menu!!!  Yum!!!  Everything looked so good on paper!!!!  In the end, we decided to go with seafood  and picked "Sizzling Squid with Vegetables", and "Stir-fried Rice Noodles with seafood".  As the waiter made to leave, (I don't know what quite came over me)  I called him back and asked to have the "Bamboo Fried Rice".

Now this is where you see that presentation is everything.  I have been to other chinese restaurants and whenever I've asked for bamboo fried rice in the past, I've been served fried rice with bits of bamboo shoots in it.  Now ordering this at the last minute was a great choice and I would have gladly ordered it again, if only to see the looks on my girls' faces when it arrived.  I give to you, "Bamboo Fried Rice".
Bamboo Fried Rice
In this picture clockwise from left: “Stir Fried Rice Noodles with Seafood”,  “Bamboo Fried rice” and “Sizzling Squid with Vegetables”.  

I don't think my eyes have ever lit up for a presentation of food as they did on this day.  Yes people, they served us fried rice in a log of bamboo! I actually clasped my hands and squealed in delight as the phallic monstrosity was placed before us. (Sadly, all it was, was plain fried rice with minced meat in it.) No veggies found their way into this but I suspect that would have made the presentation a tad bit overdone. The girls' reactions were no different from mine and we giggled as they placed the sizzling hot squid and noodles on the table, with a rich (and thick) pepper sauce on the side.  (I'm sure the waiters thought we were insane lol). 
rice noodles with seafood
In this picture:  “Stir-fried Rice Noodles with Seafood

The rice noodles were divine!!!  Bits of shellfish and puffy battered fish found their way into every mouthful and I practically drooled for more. What followed next was a gratuitous tucking in, interspersed with humorous anecdotes laughter and my attempts to not choke mid-laugh.  I almost felt sorry for ordering a sizzling meal when the hot oil spat onto the perfectly white table cloth (Oh noes! LOL) but all that was soon forgotten as I immersed myself into the joy that is Sizzling squid in Veggies.  I really want to order that again.  I suspect the chef used a dash of Oyster sauce in the squid.  Right or wrong I may be but whatever the Chef did was great.  Eating at Noble House had my belly saying to me, "Oh yes, mamen!" (Oh yes I am satisfied).  Now, perfectly cooked food, good conversation, people you love, music.....these are the elements that make a good night out and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.  I can't wait to return and try the other stuff on the menu.
In this picture from left: “Stir-fried Rice Noodles with Seafood”, “Chicken lollipops” “Sizzling Squid with Vegetables” and “Black pepper sauce”. Oh and the butt end of the babmoo vessel.

If I were to grade Noble House, I'd give them An excellent grade for Presentation of food, Quality of products, Ambiance, Hospitality and Charm.  Yes, I'd try to take out all traces of the Western world from the place, but that's just me.  I have to admit though that that's just me being finicky and picky.  It truly is a lovely place to visit.  So when Shan wished us a good evening and asked us to visit sometime, I was sure to beam at him and say, "Oh trust me, we'll be back".  I truly meant it too. Next time you're in Osu, do try to check it out.  I assure you, you will not be disappointed. Simply call them up to make a reservation if you're the more organised type. You can tell them Maame Fante sent you.

Noble House Chinese Restaurant
P.O.Box: AN5772, Accra

If you have any trouble with the info, holla @ me.  I'll hook you up directly with Shan.