Murger Han bills itself as London’s “first authentic Xi’an restaurant”, serving dishes from the capital of China’s Shaanxi Province. Initially, the restaurant’s Mayfair location (tucked down a side street just off Piccadilly) seems at odds with its casual, low-cost feel. After all, Murger Han is located just a short walk away from behemoths like The Ritz and is on the same road as Japanese high-flyer Benihana.
Nonetheless, Murger Han appears to be a hit and was positively bustling on our lunchtime visit, the compact and moody dining room mainly populated by Chinese students and diners lumbered with Fortnum’s shopping bags.
The menu here centres on two main attractions. The first is the restaurant namesake – the murger (essentially a Chinese-style burger) consists of two slices of pillowy handmade white bread which are stuffed with gloriously juicy and smoky shreds of slow-roasted pork.
The other big draw is Murger Han’s signature 12-foot noodles; these might sound like a millennial fad that’s designed to be gawped at on Instagram, but they are in fact legit. They’re also very messy, but that’s part of the fun. The thick biang biang noodles flap around in a deep bowl filled with soy, vinegar and bang bang sauce (onion, garlic, chilli), while big-flavour toppings include the likes of a surprisingly delicious tomato and egg sauce, tongue-tingling braised pork or slow-cooked beef.
Sides are restricted to a variety of gyozas (our grilled chicken stuffed varieties were pleasingly springy and bursting with flavour), while the sole dessert option is three balls of mochi ice cream, with flavours including matcha green tea and black sesame.
Brisk service which occasionally borders on rude is a downside, but for a casual and delicious meal out in Mayfair that won’t cost you and arm and a leg, Murger Han is a solid choice.