LEGO Creator 3-in-1 31131 Downtown Noodle Shop – more options for your city layout [Review]

If you’re looking for more bang for your buck, LEGO Creator 3-in-1 sets are one of the best options out there. Fun techniques and pieces coupled with three different instruction manuals provides loads of playability, and the ones that feature small buildings make for good additions to any city layout. The latest, LEGO Creator 3-in-1 31131 Downtown Noodle Shop, is no exception to that. While it may not be the most exciting set out there, particularly in a summer wave full of awesome sets, it’s both practical and cute. Join us as we take a brief look into the details of this 569-piece kit, which will be available August 1st and retail for US $44.99 | CAN $59.99 | UK £39.99.

Unboxing the parts, instructions, and sticker sheet

As usual, the medium-sized thumb-punch box shows small pictures of the alternate models alongside a large picture of the namesake build on the front. On the back, larger pictures show different angles.

In the box are five bags numbered 1-3. As previously mentioned, there are also three instruction booklets, one for each model. Fortunately, the stickers are not numerous. There are just six, and they are versatile for a variety of build scenarios.

The main build

Bag one kicks off with an adorable ice-cream cart. The colorful cone on top is created using a 3-axle Technic hub and a long bar attached to 2×2 domes. The 2×2 tan cone at its center is an element color variant that has recently been reintroduced after a 14-year disappearance.

Next we build the “noodle shop” part of the set, and here we place stickers for the menu and banners. The display wouldn’t be complete with little noodle bowls! The kitchen portion of the restaurant is very small, and the seating area is so big, comparatively, that it would’ve been nice to see that side be a little larger and more detailed.

Next we put up the apartment portion of the model. A welcome inclusion is a healthy handful of newer light nougat elements. So far these have been quite rare, with the 1×1, 1×2 and 1×4 bricks all only being in 10297 Boutique Hotel.

With the upper portion also comes a billboard sign for the noodle shop. 4L gold bars make for great chopsticks alongside the red and gold dragon-stickered 2×2 tile. Interestingly, the 1×2 grilles used for the noodles are just resting between the other elements and are not attached at all.

The interior of the upstairs includes an armchair, plants, a lamp, rug, vase, and what appears to be a radio. Two printed tiles come in the set: a newspaper and a lovely image of elephants on the savannah. The latter of which is something that was only seen in one other set: 31116 Safari Wildlife Tree House last year.

The model is wrapped up with the completion of a street corner, which utilizes our final sticker. Additionally, a cute dog and colorful vending machine brighten the scene.

The completed model

The end result is a cute and colorful little set. On the whole it is tidy, albeit a bit of a hodgepodge of architectural design. It looks good both opened up and closed, and would make a nice addition to any city layout. Additionally, there is plenty of role-play fun to be had for the kiddos. Little hands would certainly do well with this set in its entirety. The only downside is that the walls are a bit flimsy in my opinion. At the same time, this (and any other 3-in-1 set) would be better if a brick separator was included, which unfortunately in this case is not.

The alternate models

The second build in this 3-in-1 is a bike shop with another apartment above. Like the kitchen from the last model, the register side is quite tiny. There is also an under-stair area that is not utilized for anything.

The shop part, on the other hand, makes decent use of the space. It includes a bike stand, vice, air pump, shelving, tools, and what appears to be an air conditioner or another radio.

The apartment is quite plain on the inside and has the weirdest lamp I’ve ever seen in a LEGO set. (It implements the rooftop tree trunk from the main model with a small fez as the shade.) The roof is taken up by a nice sunbathing chair that utilizes the noodle shop banners, and there’s also a cute sandwich being eyeballed by a little bird. A clever bike-silhouetted billboard graces the front. Finally, this model is finished off with a stair landing complete with lamppost and potted plant. We also build a cart to go along with the bike once it’s finished being fixed in the shop.

The last model in the lineup is quick and simple, but probably my favorite. I’m a sucker for arcades, and this one packs a lot of stuff into one build! It includes a biking game, a claw machine, and a some sort of drink dispenser.

The build is made complete with the addition of a brick-built video game controller on top. It also has skylight windows to brighten the cramped space – and it is indeed cramped once you add the roof and final video game cabinet. But then again, I’ve never been in an arcade that wasn’t packed tight with games. Finishing it out, another cute little dog joins the party.

The minifigures

This set comes with two minifigures – a chef for the restaurant and a patron. They are both composed of elements that are not new, but nice to have in any collection.

The chef, carrying a meat cleaver, features the typical chef garb with a small red scarf around his collar and dark tan legs. He sports tousled black hair and a dual-sided head with a slight smile on one side and exuberant smile on the other.

The patron (and/or perhaps the owner of the apartment above the restaurant) sports a dark red jacket over a polo shirt and sand-blue legs. Her head is single-sided but has a hearing aid printed on one ear. This element was last featured in the 2020 set, 60271 Main Square. It’s really nice to see LEGO continue to add diversity to these collections.

Conclusions and recommendations

If I had to describe my thoughts on this set in one word, it would be “vanilla”. It’s fairly plain. There’s not a lot to this set that piques interest, save for a few elements here and there. Don’t get me wrong, I love vanilla. But there’s just not much excitement to it, and that holds true for this set as well. At this price point, it seems like you’re not getting very much for the money you’re shelling out. On the other hand, the price per piece is fairly decent if you were to part it out. In that case, it depends on how many parts are really worth the price of the set, and that’s entirely up to you and your taste.

If you’re considering this for a special kiddo in your life, it isn’t my first pick, but I believe most 3-in-1’s are a good choice in terms of bang for your buck.

While you’re here, take a look at the more interesting reviews in our recent lineup. If you want a 3-in-1 with a bit more flavor, check out the Vikings throwback, LEGO Creator 3-in-1 31132 Viking Ship and the Midgard Serpent.

LEGO Creator 3-in-1 31131 Downtown Noodle Shop will be available August 1st and will retail for US $44.99 | CAN $59.99 | UK £39.99

The LEGO Group provided The Brothers Brick with an early copy of this set for review. Providing TBB with products for review guarantees neither coverage nor positive reviews.

3 comments on “LEGO Creator 3-in-1 31131 Downtown Noodle Shop – more options for your city layout [Review]

  1. Jimmy

    Thanks for this review!

    I’ll add in some additional perspective: IMO this set has a lot to offer. I’ve got a kid who’s more into playing and less into building (hopefully as she gets older more freestyle building will come).

    With that in mind, this set has all sorts of details that make for great story-making and play scenarios. She loves going out to eat so the noodle shop and eating out scenarios (ordering food, paying, conflict about what to eat, take out vs. eat in, etc.). The ice cream bike and dog and apartment all add even more play value.

    I hear what you’re saying about the Viking ship, which also has some awesome play value, and as an adult that may be the way I choose to spend my money (this is an AFOL site afterall). But IMO $120 for the Viking ship alone vs. $125 total for Surfer Beach House + Safari Treehouse + Noodle Shop is no contest which I’d go for if purchasing to play with along with my child.

  2. Bre Burns Post author

    Thanks for the comment, Jimmy! You’re absolutely right, and I agree. I should’ve been more clear that I think the roleplay for kiddos is valuable in this set. That said, there were a few sticking points, and that’s why my review skewed a little negative. I’m glad that you feel this set will be great for your daughter and I hope you have a blast playing together. :)

  3. kudyardripling

    The designs are underwhelming and seem unfinished. Buying it on sale (3-in-1 tend to get discounted regularly) this should be a great parts set. I am looking forward to what kind of full size modulars people can make with multiple sets. Looks like with 3-4 sets you’d have enough pieces to make a pretty cool full-size modular for a decent price.

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