Staj Noodle Bar - Napoli, Italy
Rating: 6 / 10
Never one to turn down a noodle-rendezvous, I forced myself out of bed and walked to Chiaia to sample the goods of this establishment.
A friendly, if confused, server seated me and proceeded to take my order. The order was relayed to the kitchen as a few delivery bikes stopped outside and picked up sizzling hot packages.
Time stood still, as I gazed outside at the posh frocks descending towards the ocean. The sun had been in fine form and I almost regretted choosing an indoor restaurant.
After a lengthy wait my bowl arrived. Instant ambivalence washed across my face. I have had plenty a bowl of Miso Ramen in my life and I knew what to expect already. The thin looking soup would lack depth, the pork might be a surprise and the distinct lack of an egg plagued me. When you're paying 15 Eur for a bowl of noodle soup, I'd say you can put a goddamn egg in there right?
Egg-depravation aside, the bowl didn't sing too loudly. I felt the broth was muddy and lacked distinct edges. It was rather flat and unremarkable. If noodles are on a rising scale, these would be smack bang in the middle. Neither exciting nor disgusting. If there was one redeeming factor it was the pork. The chashu was tender and flavourful tho erring on the sweet side.
At this price point, it's difficult to justify a trip to Staj. If they perhaps tightened up their product, threw in an egg, improved the broth then you'd feel slightly better about spending that amount of money. I know Chiaia is the posh part of town but for a country in Europe, most people will struggle paying that for a salarymans comfort food in Japan.
These recommendations are just personal opinions based on my palate, things change, chefs get fired or replaced, places open-close, relocate, so take it all with a pinch of MSG and discover your own gems too. But please do try a few of these, they have been researched exhaustively.
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"Tastes are subjective, so take everything with a pinch of salty tears"