Basu Lounge is a tiny, dark restaurant hidden away along the Lake Road strip of shops and it is one of the hidden gems in Takapuna.
We visited Basu Lounge because one of our readers said that there is a mini fan debate between Lake Dumplings’ beef noodle soup and the beef noodle soup at Basu Lounge. So of course, we had to visit both a few times to really be able to tell you which we think is better. And then we had to go a few more times because we couldn’t stop eating the hot and sour broth at Lake Dumplings nor stop dreaming of Basu Lounge’s noodles.
Basu Lounge only holds a few small tables, ideal for single eaters looking for a quick delicious bowl of noodles, or for groups of two or threes. A group of four is almost a crowd for this pint sized place, but you might be able to squeeze in on a weeknight.
The first time we visited, we started out with the small beef noodle soup with no spice ($9), medium spice hot and numbing pork mince rice noodle soup ($11), seaweed salad with just a dash of spice ($9), and their small pork and chive dumplings with medium level of spicy sauce ($9.5).
We were asked a few times about which spice level we would like – because their ‘hot’ is very very hot. It made me a bit nervous, but Stefan was sure medium was going to be fine.
The wait staff were friendly and constantly busy receiving orders in person, on the phone, and giving out takeaway containers. We had almost five minutes to chat before our seaweed salad arrived and it was beautiful. For me, it was the perfect amount of spice, the seaweed was refreshing and cooling at the same time with a bit of heat at the end.
Then the beef noodle soup and dumplings arrived. The beef soup had beautifully tender falling apart meat, with chewy noodles, and a deep flavourful broth. The soup was hearty but still had a lightness of flavour thanks to the pieces of cabbage and coriander on top.
The dumplings were perfectly cooked with heaps of chives mixed onto the pork, and that spicy sauce was delicious. Stefan’s soup came out last and it was bigger than his head! I highly recommend the small sizes for any noodle soup dish, unless you have just finished running a marathon or plan to make a second meal out of your dish.
The hot and numbing soup had a delicate clear broth and was very very spicy and numbing – not sure why I was surprised. I took one sip of the broth and had a mini coughing fit, which was pretty embarrassing. Stefan loved it and promised me it wasn’t too hot – while he wiped at his sweating forehead multiple times with napkins and blew his nose. If you aren’t sure about your spice levels I would take the wait staff’s suggestions.
We preferred Lake Dumplings hot and sour soup with their dumplings, over Basu’s hot dumpling soup. But in regards to the beef noodle soup, I’m sorry to say (to possibly some of our readers) that we preferred Basu’s version. In our opinion their beef noodle soup had more depth of flavour, and had a perfect balance of components with their cabbage, noodles, and coriander. Lake Dumpling’s beef noodle soup is very good as well, but less of a beef stew broth flavour.
There is now a second location Basu Lounge located in Browns Bay. We’re glad that they are doing well and expanding because we think they have something magical going on with their food. Our next mission – deciding who has the best dan dan noodle soup – Basu Lounge or Eden Noodles?!