For those who know me well, you will know how much I luuurve my noodles. I grew up eating ramen noodles, rice noodles, egg noodles, mungbean noodles. You name it, I ate it.
Today, I decided to pay a long overdue visit to my local noodle bar. It's located inside a huge casino, which isn't where you would normally think of going to when wanting a bowl of noodles. But it's close, it's easy and it's downright tasty.
Sho Noodle Bar is all open plan with an open kitchen where you can sit at the 280 degree bar and watch the chefs at work. The waitresses wear typical red chinese costume and the front of house managers are suited and booted in white shirts and black suits. The décor is modern, comfortable and a little bit funky. There are six booths, plenty of regular dining tables and low casual tables with individual lounge style chairs.
Sitting at the bar, I ordered my usual of yellow chrysanthemum tea which comes in a clear glass teapot, Peking duck pancakes to start with and a bowl of egg noodle soup with char siu pork.
As per usual, I was starving. So I made it worse by watching the chefs cook delicious looking stir-frys and stacking up bamboo steamers full of dim sum ready to be served. It also didn't help in that the women sitting next to me ordered the Nyonya (pronounced nyoh-nyah) chicken curry which looked so good when it arrived, I tried my hardest not to drool in their faces. If I had the stomach of a horse, I would probably have ordered that as well!
My tea arrived looking divine. If you've never had chrysanthemum tea, you're missing out! To explain, chrysanthemum tea flowers are dried and then steeped in hot water. It is light on the palate and has a delicate floral aroma. As a herbal tea, it is recommended for sore throats, fever and as an aid to help cool down body heat. Hence, it is particularly refreshing served ice cold on hot summer days.
It can be bought from all good asian grocery stores in packets or in the form of tea bags. If you buy the former, just add hot water; let it steep for a few minutes and there you have it. To add some sweetness, try a little honey or better still, rock sugar (which again can be found in all good asian grocery stores). If adding rock sugar, let the tea stand for about five minutes until it has dissolved.
After having taken only a few sips of my tea, a steaming bowl of egg noodles is laid out before me. With the generous portion of char siu pork slices and blanched chinese broccoli (gai lan), I eagerly take a spoonful of the utterly delightful and delicious chicken broth. It immediately sends good vibes to my stomach. Considering that I ordered the small size, there is copious amounts of egg noodles in the bowl. The char siu pork is tasty, although a little fatty. I must say that the char siu pork can be a bit hit and miss in this place. Sometimes it is fatless, other times it isn't. There really are no guarantees and I guess it just depends on what piece you get served at the time.
Nevertheless, it doesn't fail to satisfy and I enjoy every slurp, sip, chew and gulp. At $11.90 for a 'small' (or rather generous) bowl of egg noodles with char siu pork, it really is good value.
Halfway through my noodles, I managed to grab the attention of a passing waiter to ask about the duck pancakes. He looked somewhat dumbfounded and a little flustered. Then when I question the front of house manager, he tells me that they were never ordered. This was rather strange considering our waiter asked us four times to confirm it when taking our order.
Thus, this leads me to say that this is not the first time service has been lacking. Furthermore, it seems to only ever happen during their busy peak hours, which unfortunately is most of the time.
Although I have eaten in this place several times and front of house recognise me as a regular, I don't always get treated like one. When they are packed out and rushed off their feet, service tends to get a little tardy; orders get mixed up and often forgotten about. It's not enough to put me off the place though, but it can be a little frustrating at times as this place is always busy when I visit.
Sho Noodle Bar
Main Gaming Floor, Crown Casino, 8 Whiteman St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Tel: +61 (0)3 9292 6885