If you are looking for ambience and a place to chill out and relax, the Chinese Noodle Restaurant (北方拉面馆) is hardly the place for it.
The Chinese Noodle Restaurant may call themselves a restaurant, but is in fact more like a shabby and grubby eating establishment tucked in a corner of the Prince Centre building in the Sydney Chinatown area. This restaurant stands out from the rest of the competition with the throngs of customers hovering near its entrance, waiting for a seat. Perhaps due to its good reviews online and by word of mouth among the locals (many claiming this to be the real deal), the Chinese Noodle Restaurant has a good mix of tourists, immigrant Asians and locals, all clamouring for a taste of Chinese food at its legendary affordable pricing.
Do not expect any form of service – in fact, service was so poor, we cringe to think about it. In essence, the service staffs were mostly rude and eager to pack you like a can of sardines so that they can sit more customers, or turn you out quickly for new customers to come in.
Just like any other Chinese restaurants, the Chinese noodle bar has a good variety of dishes in their menu, ranging from noodles, stir-fried vegetables, seafood, tofu, soups , fried or boiled dumplings. Prices ranged from AUD$14-16 for a typical Chinese stir-fry, AUD$8-10 for Chinese noodles, and AUD$9 for steamed/fried dumplings. Given the restaurant’s setting and service level, prices are a little steep.
We picked a winner. Priced at AUD$15.80, the Salt and Pepper Crispy Pork Fillet can hardly be classified as affordable. Nevertheless, its serving size is large, and the salt and pepper condiment that comes with the dish makes it clearly the star of the lot. This dish is a must-try! If pork is not to your liking, there are other variants such as the Salt and Pepper Calamari and Salt and Pepper Prawns which are equally popular.
Soupy Pork Dumplings (Xiao Long Bau) – 5 for AUD $4.50. Not exactly the best Xiao Long Bau we would say, and that is not because we come from an Asian country where standards of Chinese food are generally higher. Compared to the dim sum we had in Penang, Vancouver and Seattle, this one pales very much in comparison. We would just rate this as an average, although its hot steamy contents do provide some comfort from the biting cold of Sydney’s winter.
Verdict: If you are in Sydney and must have some Chinese food, then the Chinese Noodle Restaurant would be a decent choice. Otherwise, Menya Noodle Bar is just next door and they are actually a much better option in terms of quality, pricing, service and ambience.
Chinese Noodle Restaurant
Shop 7, Prince Centre Building
8 Quay St
Telephone 02 9281 9051