You see there are TWO restaurants in this complex...just a few doors apart...that look the same. Same same but different. Chinese Noodle House vs Chinese Noodle Restaurant. What’s the difference? I have no idea? They look the same. Their signage is the same...same colours + same font. The both have picture menus on the store window with smiling waitresses outside who try to coax you inside to partake of their noodles (and other goodies). Both restaurants have the same tables and chairs. The plastic grape vines hanging form the ceiling are the same in both restaurants. I assume they are owned by the same same people too?
I’m SO confused. It’s like a bizzaro world of Chinese food.
I drag The BFF to The Prince Centre one night to help me figure out where I’d eaten my first dose of handmade noodles. We work out it was Chinese Noodle HOUSE but end up eating at the Chinese Noodle RESTAURANT for some reason unbeknownst to me.
Chinese Noodle Restaurant, just like its doppelgänger Chinese Noodle House, is TINY! The restaurant only seats about 30 people and we are packed in tighter than sardines. The staff run the place with the military precision akin to so many cheap and cheerful eateries. The goal is get us in, feed us and get us out to allow more people from the line outside to get their fill of dinner here. If you go to a restaurant like this knowing what to expect, which is brisk + efficient service usually without a smile you'll have a great + tasty time. Go in expecting to be treated like you're in a three star restaurant with the staff pandering to your every whim and you'll walk away wondering WTF just happened.
The meal starts as most do in a cheap + cheerful Chinese eatery – with complimentary tea and me asking for a fork! My constant request for a fork in eateries like this always brings a smile to the face of staff (probably as they think to themselves "this girl's an idiot").
As well as handmade noodles, these restaurants are well know for their dumplings - both the pan-fried + steamed varieties. We kick things off with a serve of Light Pan-fried Dumplings ($8.00 for 12 dumplings). The filing of pork and chives is moist with a good hit of garlic and the thick pasty is deliciously pan-fried until the bottoms are brown + crisp. We each make ourselves a little bowl of vinegar and soy from the condiments available on the table and happily dip our dumplings.
Our next dish is the Special Braised Eggplant ($11.80). It's a flavoursome dish with a rice sauce coating the eggplant. The eggplant is lovely and tender, although our plate of eggplant is a smidgen too oily.
The Xinjiang style stir fry noodles ($9.80) is the last dish to arrive at our table. If I gave the impression that dishes are being delivered to us one at a time then I'm sorry! Within 10 minutes ALL our food is on our tiny table and we gobble things up to make room for the other plates. The noodles are wonderfully plump + chewy and super l-o-n-g so that slurping is required (think Lady and The Tramp). Our noodles come with beef (though you can choose whatever you like) and thick chunks of capsicum and tomato.
As we leave the Prince Centre and head to Central Station the BFF points out another same same restaurant, Chinatown Noodle Restaurant. Now I'm more confused than EVER!
Chinese Noodle Restaurant is at TG7, Prince Centre - 8 Quay Street, Haymarket Chinatown. Phone them on 9281 9051.