Friday, July 22, 2011

The Booth, Box Hill by Big Fil

I was left a bit in two minds by our visit to The Booth, a Taiwanese Noodle, Rice and Dumpling Café in Box Hill. The food and prices are good but I didn't really enjoy eating there, mainly because one of the staff came across as quite unfriendly and the overall feel to the place.


Dropping in on a Sunday Night I was surprised at just how busy this café was. Outfitting is very basic with plain tables, floors, (most of the) walls and fairly harsh lighting. With tables turning over quickly it isn't really a place to linger, much more a walk in, order, eat and leave style place.


The menu is fairly extensive with a long list of hawker style choices. While we barely touched the surface of available choices what we did sample was at worst acceptable and at best very good. Best of all (to me anyway) were the beef wrap and the pan fried pork dumplings.

Generous with the tasty and tender beef in a roll fried just right, I'd definitely re-order the beef wrap on a return visit. Regarding the wrap itself, I was surprised at how much it reminded me of some Malaysian style cooking. In fact, I think one of the dishes was described on the menu as Taiwanese naan.


The pan fried dumplings were equally as good, well fried giving the wanted nice contrasting texture between the softer tops and more solid bottoms and none of the unwanted extra oil you often get. The filling was very good, well balanced between the pork and cabbage. While unfortunately a bit stuck together these were some of the best pan-fried dumplings I've had in Melbourne.


The name three cup chicken with rice refers to the wine in which the chicken is cooked. With the tender chicken just falling away from the bone and the richly flavoured soup it was both novel and tasty.


Slight let downs though were the pan fried lamb scroll and the stir fried pork noodles. As pointed out by Ms Counting her Calories the lamb scrolls were very reminiscent of murtabak, a filled roti dish from Malaysia. While nothing particularly wrong with it, I just found the taste and texture not as interesting when compared to the beef wrap. Same with the stir fried pork noodles. A perfectly acceptable workmanlike version of the dish, there was just not that much to distinguish it from that available in dozens of cafes around town.



Overall
My major issues with The Booth were the setup, which felt almost more like a canteen than a café, and the brusque, almost dismissive vibe given out by one of the staff members. I know the café was busy, and that places like this exist based on a fast turnover of customers, but once or twice it felt like it was crossing the line between efficiency and rudeness. On the other hand service was quick, we were all happy with the food and the prices were reasonable. On balance I did like The Booth but more for a quick bite than somewhere to relax or catch up with friends

Verdict
Food - 7.5
Ambience - 5.5
Service - 6
Price - 8

Address
612 Station Street
Box Hill VIC 3128
Tel: (03) 9899 7666

The Booth on Urbanspoon

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