Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Noodle House, CBD, Melbourne

Having watched this place being constructed over the past few months, I was very excited to discover that it had finally opened.

The Noodle House is a new addition to the Southbank row of restaurants on the East side of Queensbridge Street. Being less than a five minute walk from home, I was eager to try it out.

Since it was raining for most of the evening yesterday, I decided that I didn't want to go too far. The Noodle House seemed the perfect destination for an easy supper option.

My companion and I arrived for an early six o'clock sitting. There were a couple of outside tables already taken. Since it was warm enough to sit out, we also opted to take a table under the rain proof awning. The whole terrace is under cover, which makes it fully versatile for the variable Melbourne weather conditions.

On the terrace are glass topped wicker tables with cushion seated wicker dining chairs.  The logistical placing of the chairs was well thought out since they don't squash tables so close to one another. 

Inside, there are a couple high tables with stools which are great fun for groups of up to eight friends, wooden benched tables and a few booth-like tables around the edges.  There's also an open kitchen which always makes for great viewing.

The food menu is like a notebook whereby all the options are neatly laid out on just one page.  There are two pencils in the pencil holder at the top and diners just tick off what they want. The waitress then comes along, tears the top one off (yours) and takes it to the kitchen.

The menu is clearly separated into sections - Appetizers, Dim Sum, Wet Noodles & Soups, Wok Fried Noodles, House Favourites, Specialities, Wok Side Dishes & Vegetables and Desserts. 

For certain dishes, there are clear symbols indicating levels of spicyness, vegetarian, healthy options and those that contain nuts


We decided to share a couple of mains.  My choice of 'Lamb Redang Curry' and 'Singaporean Black Pepper Beef' with a side of plain steamed rice to share. 

The serving dishes themselves are large rimmed, crisp white china plates.  It must be said that they do take up a lot of room on the table.  Considering the food itself actually only fits into about half the diameter of the full size of each serving plate, if there were four of us, it might have turned into a juggling act.  This isn't a criticism as such, more an observation. 

Still, the Singaporean black pepper beef was well presented.  Made with fresh ingredients and the most tender beef, it was absolutely delightful.  Being a healthy option, we felt rather smug about devouring a 'healthy' stir fry.  It had no film of grease on the top which made a nice change from the usual Cantonese stir fry.  However on a spicy note, with two chilli peppers indicating 'very spicy' next to this dish on the menu, neither of us thought it spicy at all. 

The Lamb redang curry was also good.  The lamb was beautifully tender and, the curry sauce was delicious.  However, in terms of chilli hot, it was in my book, mild rather than the 'very spicy' that is indicated on the menu.  Everyone is different though and some people may find these dishes quite spicy.  As mentioned before, I do have an inherited South East asian palate... 

Service here is polite, friendly and attentive.  The food is fresh, tasty and well presented.  The décor is modern and light, with lots of clean lines.  There isn't anything on the menu that I wouldn't eat.  So with solid conviction, I can safely say that "I will definitely be visiting The Noodle House again." 

The Noodle House
1 Southbank Boulevard, Southbank, VIC 3006
Tel: +61 (0)3 9682 1200

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