THE Red Box Noodle Bar is set handily close to some of the main university buildings on West Nicholson Street. With takeaway additional to their sit-in tables, the small restaurant was packed on the weekday we went in.
The queue moved mercifully quickly given the tantalising smells emanating from the six woks perched behind the service counter.
With a simple set-up, Red Box has a seemingly winning formula. The Noodle-Box option (from £5.30) is the most popular choice with add a starter option for £2 extra, starter and a soft drink for £2.50 and starter and a beer for £4.
Starters are also available on their own from the Snack-Box menu (£2.50). With a range of satay skewers, prawn toast and dumplings we chose the dim sum pork and mushroom dumplings and pan fried pork and vegetable dumplings. The steamed dumplings came slightly stuck together but were tasty nonetheless. The pan fried option was definitely the more flavoursome. Both filled a spot and are good value for money.
For the noodle boxes, you choose from a selection of noodles, then your meat option, up to three vegetables and finally a sauce. My friend chose udon noodles with roast duck, shiitake mushrooms, bok choi and broccoli, and a red Thai curry sauce. The vegetable choice had to be changed due to a shortage of a few options but, ready in moments, it was good, flavoursome fast food. My choice was with rice noodles, chicken, broccoli, bean sprouts and onion with a black bean sauce. I also had extra garlic and chilli. Equally tasty the noodle boxes were seemingly endless and one would have been enough to share between two.
With a full lunch for just over £5, Red Box offers a healthy, quick option in the midst of other venues nearby. Not one for a smart sit down lunch, it is definitely one for a bite with friends or a lunch on the run.
• Red Box Noodle Bar, 51-53 West Nicolson Street, 0131-662 0828, www.red-boxnoodlebar.co.uk