Thursday, January 05, 2012

RESTAURANT: Chinatown Noodle King

Chinatown Noodle King has been on my radar for quite a while. I'd often pass it when walking up Sussex St for a bit of lunch at work (which is occasionally on said Sussex St) and wonder how this king was anointed. I also saw it mentioned by the pony-tailed chef, Neil Perry, in an article on "where chefs go to eat" and a few times on the twitter.

The facts:
- Northern Chinese food
- Northern Chinese food prices
- More comfortable than the average Northern Chinese restaurant (which isn't saying a lot)

Oh, and ice-cold Tsingtaos, which immediately launch the restaurant into the upper echelon of dining experiences. It may have taken a reminder, and service may occasionally require a little prompting (the norm for Northern Chinese restaurants), but when it comes it's pretty damn good.

The menu throws up a few surprises to the normal Northern Chinese menus that are dumplings, stir fries, pork buns, noodles, salads. Here they also have some lesser cuts of meat and offal in dishes (can't help but laugh at the listing of "brochette of tripe") and some hot pots. Not being huge offal fans we give it a miss though.

Curiously, there is also a page for "traditional snacks", which is code for "sliced and fried pancakes". Served with your choice of meat and vegetables, it's closer to being a fried rice noodle stir fry and is worth trying.

And what of the noodles that the noodle king has been king'd for? They're pretty good! Soft and slippery, well cooked and well adorned with meat and vegetables. I would have liked a little more "bite" to the noodle, but it's still very good.

A Northern Chinese restaurant experience for a whitey like me wouldn't be complete without some white man's crack: dumplings. We go for the boiled dumplings in hot and spicy sauce. It's basically boiled dumplings that skip a step, since they're already covered in a mix of chilli, soy and vinegar. The ratio is good and it keeps the dumplings from drying out (and of course saves me from having to manually compose the mix myself).

We also go for a stir fry and the cumin lamb is one of my all time favourites so it gets the nod. This is an enjoyable version.

While I don't find the food better than some of my favourite Northern Chinese restaurants (ie Chinese Noodle Restaurant/House and Sea Bay), it's not far off. And with more comfortable/less-cramped seating and less chance of queues (AND ICE COLD TSINGTAOS), I can see Chinatown Noodle King becoming a regular haunt for me and my friends.

RATING: Will return to [?]

Chinatown Noodle King on Urbanspoon

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