Review: UDN – Abu Dhabi's first udon house
Oodles of noodles at UDN, but is it slurping good?
Yeah, yeah, ramen is great. And we’re not telling you not to eat ramen. What we’re telling you to do is to also eat ramen’s thicker, wheat-flour noodle cousin udon. And one delightful place to do just that is at UDN, the brand new udon house in Abu Dhabi.
A concept brought to life by Abu Dhabi coffee specialists, DRVN Coffee, UDN celebrates and specialises in one of Japan’s most famous and versatile noodle dishes that has been making Japanese diners happy for centuries.
UDN is pretty special because it makes its noodles in-house daily from scratch. They can be ordered in UDN’s traditional form – curry broth or vegan broth. UDN also serves a variety of peripheral dishes, such as edamame, gyoza and whatnot. Our advice would be to skip them and stick to the udon.
We tried the UDN curry with grilled chicken (Dhs68), which features a rich, slow-cooked curry melding into a clear dashi-based broth, a hefty sprinkling of spring onions, a few slices of narutomaki (fish cake) and Japanese spice. We added in a couple of extra medium boiled eggs for extra creaminess. The bowl that arrived needed to be carried to the table with two hands it was so big. And so tasty. It was so vividly flavoured, and yet also so fresh (thanks to the hefty sprinkling of spring onions and herbs), that it reminded us of the best bits of a Malaysian laksa. As for the noodles, they were amazingly good, with a mystifying depth of flavour and a perfect texture.
You might well say that at Dhs68 for a bowl of noodle soup, it had to be good, because that price is only cheap if the food is brilliant. At UDN, it is; and there’s something attractive about a place that concentrates on one thing and does it with such skill.
Old Airport Road, Showroom 1, Abu Dhabi, daily noon to 11pm. Tel: (050) 6489 310. @udn.ae