Despite living across the road from the Shopping Centre and bemoaning the lack of good, cheap oriental food in the area, only today did I realise that the previously empty pub building by the shopping centre (on the road between the two roundabouts) has become a noodle bar, called Tai Tip Mein (or Tai Won Mein - they can't seem to decide which). As I was getting off the bus there in search of food from Iceland or Tesco, I decided to pop in for some food. I had fried noodles with sweet and sour chicken, which cost £3.40. Being used to noodle bar type places being relatively cheap but portions small, I was shocked at how big the plate was! It was huge and plenty of chicken, and very nice. Also had a big pot of Japanese tea for 80p. The place seemed clean and the service was very quick. Most things on the menu are £3.40 to £3.95, though some things like roast duck are closer to £6. Oh and they only take cash (no cards!) so make sure you get some first if you decide to try.
I agree that the food is somewhat largish and it is so cheap but, the BIG BUT, is that you cannot seat wherever you please! I like the food there but ....
They pick your seat and that is it! They direct you to a seat even you don't like it or even if you don't like sitting next to strangers or you are out of the door - so if you have 2 friends with you already sitting at a table of four - they will bring a stranger to sit at your table making it 4.
That is what puts me off that restaurant so I instead go to The Well which is few shops away.
I do not understand their policy on seatings but I believe it is to do with profit-making (the food being so cheap) but I do not think that the conversations we carry at our "table" can be comfortable if it can be easily heard by strangers sitting next to you. So this restaurant is definitely off the list for romantic or business dinners!!!
They actually let me sit where I wanted to, but then it was only about 6.30pm. Thing is, people pay a lot more money to sit at equally communal tables at places like Wagamama and Busaba Eathai (though of course in somewhat more glamorous surroundings and probably enjoying the chance to out-trendy the person next to them.)
Tai Won Mein is great. I used to live in Greenwich where they also have a branch and loved the cheap fast and relatively healthy food, great when you're feeling lazy. My only regret about moving to SE1 was not being able to get the chicken noodles anymore, only to discover a branch just up the road. Its just a shame you have to brave the southern underpasses at elephant and castle to get there!