The world’s oldest style of sandwich, cocktails with a kick and seriously good noodles – Olivia explains why you need to try Xi’an cuisine at Murger Han, ‘London’s most authentic Xi’an restaurant’ 

“It’s very authentic” I text my dining partner who is on her way from Euston station to Murger Han to meet me for dinner. Somehow I am able to confidently make this claim, despite never having been to Xi’an, the capital of Shaanxi Province and the third most populous city in Western China. 

Xi’an is Murger Han’s hook. Claiming to be London’s first authentic Xi’an restaurant, any diner can tell straight away, (having travelled to China or not) that Murger Han prioritises authenticity over anything.

Murger Han Euston, is visually unassuming in style. A simplistic front leads into a buzzy and compact little dining room. It is filled with diners obviously in-the-know, there are barely any empty tables and the staff float deftly around, seamlessly carrying steaming pots from the clattering kitchen that serves as a soundtrack to the restaurant. 

It is one of these deft servers that comes to our rescue, we need guidance when it comes to the menu, especially as my dining partner is vegetarian. A region where wheat fields reign supreme over rice, the cuisine of Xi’an is famous for its rich noodle culture that flourishes there – and noodles are what Murger Han does best. 

But don’t be alarmed, at Murger Han, there is no such thing as ‘noodle-overload’ because every noodle dish is beautifully unique to the rest. Split into sections, we are told that the best way to get the full Xi’an cuisine experience is by sharing several dishes between us. 

We opt for three different noodle dishes, two veggie sides and of course, the famous ‘murger’, after which the restaurant is named. 

First to adorn our table top however are two cocktails. Mine is the eponymously named ‘murgito’ – yes, you guessed it, Murger Han’s take on a classic mojito. Soda water with a splash of berry-flavoured liqueur, it comes in cool mojito style, topped with a sprig of fresh mint, loaded with ice and ready to provide that delightfully sharp and refreshing fizz on the tongue with a distinct kick of rum and sweet berry as it goes down. 

This cool and refreshing theme continues over into our first dish, the cold steamed wheat noodles with seasonal veg and wheat gluten. My advice? Don’t let the word ‘cold’ put you off. The chilled temperature of this dish adds to its complexity of flavour and texture, it allows you to savour the soy-saltiness of the added sauces and appreciate the chewy, smoothness of the noodles and crunchy freshness of the added cucumber. 

The wheat gluten pieces are a delicacy I am not so familiar with, but again, they give this simplistic dish another edge. A chewy dense, almost beef-like protein, they are incredibly tender, satisfyingly squeaky on the teeth, and being a blank canvas for cooking, have absorbed the salty, soy and garlic flavours of the dish beautifully. 

With a further two noodle dishes waiting table-top for us to try, our Murger Han experience is nicely broken up with the addition of ‘snacks’ that come in the form of grilled veggie gyoza and the Murger Han mixed salad. 

But up first is the ‘murger’ itself. Somewhere between a sandwich and burger, the murger is said to be perhaps the oldest form of sandwich in the world. Literally meaning ‘meat sandwiched in bread’, it is a popular Chinese street food and I can see why. Easy to pick up, bite into and packed with tender duck meat, it is simple but effective. 

The gyoza prove to be scrumptious pockets of flavour: the grilled golden flaky casing giving way to a hot pouch packed full of flavoursome veggie goodness. We dip these into the little dish of soy sauce with our chopsticks and devour them quickly. 

The mixed salad is not the lettuce-based one you might expect. Instead it consists of edamame, celery, dry bean curd, peanuts, carrots, and lotus salad. Beautifully crunchy and full of fresh, natural flavour this proves to be a refreshing accompaniment to the next two noodle dishes which are much spicier than the first.  

The pièce de résistance of our Murger Han experience has to be the biang biang noodle bowl. Perhaps the most revered type of noodle from Xi’an, biang biang are hand-pulled, broad, ribbon-like noodles, wheat flour based, seasoned with a Chinese black vinegar base sauce and topped with garlic chilli oil.

This dish comes out in authentic splendour, colourful with green pops of spinach, spring onion and cabbage, and sitting in a red tomato and egg sauce. This is definitely one that will please your foodie Instagram followers.

Our waitress offers to expertly mix this dish for us with chopsticks, stirring all the goodness in together with added tofu. The biang biang noodle is wonderfully satisfying to eat: slicked in oil and chilli, it is a slippery mouthful but supremely delicious. 

The tomato and chilli in the broth means this dish packs a hot and spicy punch but this is nicely counterbalanced by the green veggies and their earthy freshness. It is a dish of different textures: the slipperiness of the biang biang, the crunch of the veg and the squeaky softness of the tofu.

Three definitely seems to be the magic number when it comes to noodle dishes here. Our third and final bowl comes in the form of the clay pot rice noodle with mixed vegetables in vegetable stock.

Topped with a couple of quail eggs, this arrives steaming and I already know I will be craving this on those colder days or when I’m feeling unwell. The ultimate comfort dish, it’s a hug in a clay pot. Indulge without reservation; you won’t be able to eat this one gracefully, so have the napkins at the ready and dive right in. 

Relish with gusto and absorb this hot, spicy broth that showcases an array of gorgeous veggie flavours, elevated to their full potential by the use of traditional Shaanxi seasoning – think hints of garlic, onion, chilli, ginger, and cumin.

Comfortably full but never a pair to turn down a pud, we enjoy sharing a bowl of perfectly presented, cartoon-esque ice cream. 

Pink baubles of strawberry sit in a tall glass bowl, while the chocolate ice cream has been poured into a mould of a man with a moustache! 

This really is a visual pleaser, but a sweet and charming little ending to a meal that has without doubt been one of culinary revelations for me. If you’re looking for somewhere serving seriously good noodles where authenticity is paramount, then look no further than Murger Han.


62 Eversholt Street

10 Philpot London Bridge

8A Sackville Street

4 Castle Square
SE17 1EN

Images supplied by Murger Han