Yippee Noodle Bar has been part of Cambridge for over 15 years. Tucked away on quiet King Street, it’s practically a neighbourhood institution. I’ve been living in Cambridge for half those years, so why did it take me so long to pop into Yippee’s? Fortunately I remedied the situation and enjoyed a fantastic meal, packed with fresh, healthy ingredients and vibrant flavours.
The setting is casual, with minimalist décor. Long tables and benches fill up the open space and colourful artwork adorns the walls, but it’s all that’s really needed. The focus is the open kitchen and the food! The bright, cheerful ambience is enhanced by the friendly service. I spotted a variety of customers: solo diners, couples, students, families with young children, groups… even locals picking up their takeway.
The food and drink menus are just varied enough to be interesting but not overwhelming. Drinks include wine, beer, soft drinks, freshly-squeezed juices and tea (jasmine or green with free refills). The starters/sides feature oriental favourites such as tempura, spring rolls and prawn toast, as well as many vegetarian options. Noodles are the main attraction and they are found in soups and wok-fried dishes, but there are rice dishes as well.
While we looked over the food menu, Paulo ordered some hot sake and I had the green tea (which was constantly refilled by our attentive waitress).
We decided to share some sides: tempura prawns, vegetable rolls and satay chicken. The king prawns were butterflied and lightly coated in the tempura’s light batter. A soy and wasabi dipping sauce was the perfect accompaniment to the four prawns.
The mini spring rolls came in a portion of six. They were deep fried but not at all greasy… just nice and crispy with a tasty carrot and cabbage filling. They were served with sweet chilli dip.
The satay chicken, marinated and chargrilled on skewers, came with a spicy peanut sauce that was absolutely delicious.
A fellow foodie on Twitter recommended the lemon chicken (chicken in light batter served with cold lemon dip) so I’ll definitely be trying that next time. In fact, when I tweeted about the place, several Cambridge people expressed their delight with Yippee Noodle Bar and some offered their recommendations, such as the China Town Roast Duck (a quarter of boneless roast duck with Yippee sweet soy and pak choi). There are so many mouth-watering choices on the menu that return visits are definitely in the works.
Despite all of the options of the menu, Paulo and I chose the same dish as our main course. I guess we both fancied some comforting dumplings on a chilly night. We had the Won Ton Mein soup… a light soy and chicken broth featuring san mein noodles, whole king prawns wrapped up in the dumplings, spring onions and fresh pak choi. The soup came with a little bowl of chilli oil on the side. I didn’t add any but Paulo used up his whole bowl and boy was it spicy, just the way he likes it!
The dessert menu was too good to pass up and we ordered the sesame banana fritters with vanilla ice cream and syrup. Ripe whole bananas (not mashed) were encased in a light crispy crust, which was superior to the thick fluffy crust I’ve had at other places. The ice cream and syrup added just the right amount of sweetness, offset by the nutty flavours of the sesame seeds.
All of the food was very fresh as the dishes were cooked to order. We could tell that high quality ingredients were used (that pak choi!). I love the fact that the menu features dishes that are simple yet brimming with complex flavours. That’s the sign of a restaurant that leaves you coming back for more. So “yippee” for Yippee Noodle Bar!
I initially discovered Yippee Noodle Bar through Independent Cambridge, a guide featuring some the city’s best independent traders, venues and events, including some fab foodie places. Yippee Noodle Bar is just one of the many gems featured in the latest edition, which can be purchased at participating businesses and online (the complete list is here).
The owners, managers or staff did not invite me to visit this establishment and were unaware that my experience would be the basis of a written review. It is based on my experience at my own cost and I did not receive compensation for my review.
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