Wok ‘n Noodle
“Heah!” “Hi” Owner Chang Woo Lee will boom out a greeting to you when you walk in to this modern Asian kitsch-free zone.
I have a special affection for the location. In its previous guise it was a café and was the first outing for our new-born daughter (now 9 years old). The neighbourhood has developed since then, and Lee caters to the local workers and apartment-dwellers, bar-goers plus newbies like me who finally tried him out.
The menu is large, and is best described as Asian-mix. Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Malaysian cuisines all show their influence here. There is a regular menu plus a specials menu, and you can opt between noodles, white or brown rice, gluten free, carbohydrate free and low carbohydrate options.
I ordered a prawn spring roll ($5), the Pad Kee Mao ($13.50) and the Sweet and Sour Pork ($13.50). The takeaway dishes seemed to arrive in about five minutes and came in the white noodle boxes. The hit for me was the prawn spring roll, three small prawns in crisp spring roll wrapper. It was a flavour burst of prawn and spices and came with a container of dipping sauce.
The Pad Kee Mao was described as stir-fried spicy chicken and basil leaf with onion, egg, tomato, bamboo shoot, carrot, broccoli and basil/chili oil. It came with thick rice noodles. Owner Lee had made sure that I was okay with spicy when I ordered the dish, and assured me it was only medium spicy. I slurped the noodles down and enjoyed the dish, but it was not quite as flavourful as I had expected. The warmth of the chili came through but somehow not the flavour of the basil. Still very enjoyable.
The Sweet and Sour Pork was interesting. I found it a pleasant light take on the classic as it came as “nude” pieces of pork with stir-fried cucumber, tomato, onion, baby corn and pineapple in a light sweet and sour sauce. My daughter on the other hand was disappointed as she was expecting the usual small pieces of pork in batter, covered in sickly sweet sauce. A question of individual taste? The rice was a little al dente and could have used longer in the rice cooker.
Wok’n Noodle is licensed. The wine list is short but serviceable, running at $7.50-$8 per glass and between $32-$36 per bottle. Beer is $7.50-$8. Sake is available.
I would come back here to try more menu items. Although we love ‘no frills’ restaurants for their food, it’s a nice change to have Asian cuisine in a modern environment.