Goodness, I love food. Like, food is flippen great. And I’m always a little surprised (read as: absolutely shocked) when people say that they’re kinda not phased by food. Food is life, man. And more importantly, PRON food is life.
Last year I was getting really amped up because the old lawnmower shop down the road from us closed down and the space was bought by some restaurateurs who were clearly opening something amazing. And if there’s one thing that I love more than great food, it’s great food that’s within walking distance of my house.
When the new restaurant doors finally opened, we were pretty much first in line on the opening night, immediately falling in love with the awesome décor and friendly waitresses – the manager Shu is one of the loveliest humans you’ll ever meet. Named PRON (the People’s Republic Of Noodles) this restaurant is the love child of chef Emma Chen and the little sibling of The Red Chamber in Hyde Park, and while it’s got all the deliciousness and style of The Red Chamber, it’s definitely a more casual laid back venue – totally my style.
Since first discovering PRON, we have literally eaten there most weeks. Not kidding – it’s that good. The food is simple, incredibly tasty, and addictive. I once had a long chat with Emma where she described going home to Northern China to see her sister, and their entire trip ended up revolving around food – they’d stop off at little food stalls on the side of the road, or dip into little restaurants to fill their bellies with the rich, warming soups and breads that you can only get in that area. And when you go into the restaurant now, it’s almost like you can feel that same atmosphere of being back home, eating the delicious food of your childhood – and I’ve never even been to mainland China.
The décor is so great – the whole place was designed by the amazing Charles Storr and it’s got this chic, cheeky feel about it. Even better is the private dining room downstairs, which has a gold roof and plush red curtains. You can hire it out for a party or dinner (guess where I’ll be having my birthday this year?!)
You’ve got to order the hand-break-bread, it’s this insanely tasty layered flatbread, and if you’re a spice addict like Ant, there’s always fresh homemade chili on the table to dip it in. Unlike the Chinese meals most of us are familiar with, PRON’s food isn’t about spring rolls and deep fried things: the food is all fresh and filled with veggies, and if you get noodles they’re pretty much the furthest thing you can get from the Maggie variety. If you decide to go the tapas route (which I absolutely recommend) then you can stuff your face with all manner of tasty things: dry fried green beans, tofu and cucumber salad, Chashao pork slices, Sichuan chilli chicken, and so much more.
If you’re feeling up to it, order some noodles too – but the portions are large, so if you’ve had tapas too, consider sharing with a friend (or don’t, it’s your life, I don’t judge.) The noodles mostly come in a delicious spiced broth with homemade noodles, fresh veg, and tofu or meat. My favourite is the Beef Soup Noodles, and in summer the menu changes a little to also include some cold options, like the Beef Summer Noodles.
Order your meal with a classic Buddha Beer or a glass of wine, and finish off with a fortune cookie. Wave at me from across the room, there’s a good chance I’m sitting stuffing my face in the corner.
PRON is situated at 69, 7th Street, Linden Contact: 011 782 1736