Text description provided by the architects. Hidden in plain sight, Mean Noodles is not hard to find once you enter the alley from NewMarket Street in Sheung Wan. Run by the openUU design duo Caroline Chou and KevinLim, Mean Noodles reflects their love of good design and their passion for delicious food.
Mean Noodles is envisaged as a casual noodle shop that specializes in traditional South-east Asian cuisine with contemporary style. The entrance is emphasized with green stain-less steel window frames and logo. The vintage metal look and concrete finish allows thenoodle shop to blend harmoniously with its surrounding neighborhood.
As a trained architect and professionally certified chef from Le Cordon Bleu (Boston), Limworked closely with Chef Ming Tsai of Blue Ginger in Wellesley, MA, where he discoveredhis love of exotic ingredients. Blue Ginger was also one of Chou’s favorite restaurants inBoston, as she attended Wellesley College, a 10-minute walk to the restaurant.
Chou and Lim are enthusiastic about the strong and intense flavors found in SoutheastAsian cuisine. Lim has spent a great deal of time in Malaysia, and both he and Chou lovetraveling around southeast Asia in search of local eats, such as hawker stalls or hole in thewall places. One of their favorite dishes is the Thai Yen Ta Fo Heng, a classic Thai noo-dles dish. After discovering this not so well known Thai pink noodles dish, Chou and Limbegan seeking it out whenever they visited Thailand.
The name Mean Noodles is part nod to western slang and part play on the Chinese wordfor noodles. “Mean” describes something cool, awesome, interesting, nice and with all thegoodness — as in having a “mean bowl of noodles.” “Mean” also sounds like “noodles” in Chinese.
As both the design team and chef-owner of the restaurant, Chou and Lim faced the chal-lenge of coming up with a consistent concept from logo, branding, noodle recipes, all theway to the interior and facade. Chou and Lim took their cue for the interior of Mean Noo-dles from Malaysian Batik, a popular textile art in leaves and floral motifs. The colors arelight and vibrant, with carefully crafted lines and floral patterns on the fabrics.
The open kitchen fosters interactions between the customers and the chef, giving dinersan opportunity to watch as their food is prepared. The hanging cabinets above the barhave custom “MEAN” lighting to emphasize the attitude and taste of the noodles. Thekitchen subway tiles have been finished with green grout, emphasizing the line motif fromthe dining room. The standing bar across the seating area allows customers to grab a quick bite or an informal happy hour drink.
The marble tabletops and marble mosaic tiles compliment the mean green tiles, contrastedwith the mustard seat fabric. Mean Noodles also takes advantage of the high ceilings toprovide a comfortable and airy atmosphere for diners to enjoy. Customer comfort was alsoa major consideration in the design process; diners can utilize the USB outlets provided torecharge their electronics when dining, while bags and purses can be hung below the mar-ble tabletops to allow customers to sit comfortably.