Here’s one of those places I’ve been visiting for a handful of years now yet never bothered taking the camera along, until now. Tucked in amongst the multitude of international restaurants in the heart of Newtown is this beating little noodle and dumpling restaurant that dishes up no-fuss northern Chinese food.
At night the cosy little space is generally packed to the rafters with rowdy noodle slurpers and piles of bamboo steamers and without a booking you’re bound to be loitering on the pavement outside for the next available table. Lunchtime, however, sets a different scene providing you get there early enough to nab a table. I love how during the warmer months the bi-fold doors open out onto the King Street giving full view of the passing people parade.
The menu is a mix of North Chinese and a few Cantonese classics and at lunch the $6.90 specials are hard to beat. The plates may be down-sized from the regular offerings but this way you can order more food. That’s my excuse, anyway.
Admittedly I have found that over the years the consistency of the dishes has become erratic, especially the dumplings. Sometimes they’re perfect, sometimes they make your shoulders sink with disappointment. Case in point – the prawn dumplings (12.8). I can’t even begin to describe their blandness. On a good day the handmade noodles with pork mince & bean sauce (so much easier if they called it zha jiang mein) is a sensation. I love this stuff. It looks like spag bol but that’s where the similarity ends. Salty, meaty and those handmade noodles … good lord those noodles. I’d invite the kitchen folk back to my place for some noodle action any day.
I find the northern fried dumplings (8.8) are pretty good overall and when they contain that little bit of heavenly broth, not always mind you, my inner dumpling heart warms up like a hug from a favourite nanna.