Monday, October 31, 2011

Noodle Kingdom, Preston by Big Fil

I'd been nagging friends for ages to visit Noodle Kingdom in Preston. It's a part of town I rarely get to but I knew it was a popular restaurant, and I'm always keen to visit anywhere that makes its own dumplings and noodles. My friends weren't as enthusiastic having been there a few times before, but last Saturday night they finally gave in.


It's probably not the best time to show up and expect to get a table straight away, 6.30 pm on a Saturday night, but it was only a ten minute wait fortunately. Inside is a little crowded and noisy but the d├ęcor is surprisingly restrained, lots of light and earthy brown colours. It's also one of those restaurants where you can watch the staff prepare the dumplings and noodles, something that always intrigues me.


But rather than be entertained by the preparation of food, we were more interested in its consumption. Always enthusiastic in our ordering, our selection of noodles, soups and dumpling dishes were soon on their way.

Having seen them being made in front of us our first choice was the fried pork dumplings. Consistent with a couple of the other dishes we tried, they were basically ok but should have been better. The filling was good and the skins nicely thin, but they had been overcooked to the extent of seeming more deep fried than pan fried. The end result was that the skin had a texture more like cardboard than the nice crispy/chewy feel I like.


Second dish up was the stewed beef with broad noodles. It was a very generous serve with good noodles and tender beef, and a step up from the dumplings. Unfortunately though, some of us found the soup a little salty.


One dish I liked was the Shanghai fried noodles. To me this dish is more about the texture than the flavour, as I love the slight chewiness of the noodle and the way it slithers down. What can ruin it though is if it's overly oily. I thought this was one of the better I've had, because while the flavours were certainly a bit muted there was no problem with oiliness whatsoever.


Last two mains were the pork belly in Chinese wine sauce and the Beijing style fried noodles. Solid dishes, nothing much to complain about but nothing particularly special either. I'd probably not order them again, not because I didn't like them but more to save the space for something else.



Finally to finish off, red bean pancake. I don't think I've ever had this where they've been so generous with the red bean paste, but unfortunately I thought it'd been over-cooked slightly rendering the pastry a little dry and hard.


Overall
A kind of frustrated experience. It wasn't that anything we ordered was bad, it just felt like it should have been better. Staff did appear to be rushing around a lot and it's possible they were feeling the pressure, resulting in a couple of overcooked fried dishes. It was also hard to get their attention at times, and bringing out one spoon when we said we wanted to share the soup between five of us was a bit poor, particularly when we had to ask twice for the additional spoons. Serves were very generous though, particularly given prices are fairly low. The end result was a restaurant I'd be willing to give another go if I'm in the area but I probably wouldn't make a special trip to visit from the other side of town again.

Verdict
Food - 7
Ambience - 7
Service - 5.5
Price - 7.5

Address
469 High Street
Preston VIC 3072
Tel: (03) 9478 8885

Noodle Kingdom on Urbanspoon

3 comments:

Shi Wei said...

The food used to be good the couple of times I visited it. Staff was always terrible but now, both stinks.

There was an insect in my wonton soup (which btw stank badly of pork not cleaned properly). On getting the attention of the staff, which was extremely difficult (they were all standing right in front of me playing with their phones and I had to wave for nearly a minute), no apologies was given not even an apologetic look. The staff merely gave it a look and said literally in Mandarin, "You want a new one or not?". I declined. (I should have said "Save it")

No surprised look on her face at their hygiene inadequacy.

To make matters worse, although I did not see how it could get worse from the tasteless vegetarian noodle soup and stinking pork/prawn wonton, I had asked if I could pay by credit card before the meal as I had no cash on me. The staff informed me that a bill of more than $20 was necessary for the use of the credit card. OK. So I ordered promptly three dishes which came up to more than $20. Now that the insect wonton soup was cancelled off the bill, when I asked for bill it was less than $20 and the same staff refused to accept my credit card. Imagine my anger. I explained calmly to her that I did order more than $20 and had checked beforehand that I was going to use my credit card.

Certainly it cannot be my fault that there was an insect in my wonton soup??!!

She insisted I pay an extra charge of 50cents for my credit card use. By this time, I was too furious and tired of their bullshit attitude and bullshit food to argue.

The quality of their service and food is unacceptable and if they think they can continue to get away with this, they won't.

katy_em said...

@ Shi Wei: walk out without paying. Why should we pay for bad service and food?

katy_em said...

and there's more bad reviews on Urbanspoon

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