Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Fat Noodle, Star City, Pyrmont

I have been dreaming about eating at Red Lantern for some time now. Something that only intensified with our trip to Vietnam earlier this year. However, thanks to MasterChef's love affair with chef Luke Nguyen, it is now nearly impossible to get a seat. Last time I tried, after Luke's first appearance on the MC juggernaut, I was greeted with a pre-recorded message telling me that Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights were booked out for the next 6 weeks, but to leave a message if I was after a mid week booking (which I was). I then found out that the only time they could fit us in was at 9.30, on a Tuesday! Which, unfortunately, was just too late - we wouldn't have made it home before midnight, and we're early risers in the Alphie household (not by choice let me tell you!).

So, when I stumbled upon a review for Fat Noodle, only to find out that Luke is the consulting chef (not really sure how I missed this in the first place, but oh well), I was pretty much sold. The mixed reviews scared me a little, as did the description location (main gaming floor), but by that stage, it was too late, I had already decided.

Fat Pho noodles

We arrived just after 6.30, and there was already a line forming. Once we were seated, the service was prompt, if a little cool. We started with the salt & pepper silken tofu, and the Byron Bay grilled pork neck skewers. The chilli dressing on the tofu was surprisingly punchy, and tended to overpower the salt & pepper elements of the tofu, however if you could get past the chilli, the crispy salt & pepper batter perfectly offset the creamyness of the tofu. While researching this restaurant, the pork neck skewers were given rave reviews by almost everyone (even thos who had few positive things to say!), so it was a must order. We were not dissapointed. The pork was sweet and tender, while still having some of those crispy chewy bits that you expect from a grill.
On to mains (not that things came out in that order - as the website says, 'dishes are brought to your table as soon as they are ready'), I had the fat pho noodles (I couldn't resist!), while FH Alphie had the roast duck. The pho broth was incredibly beef-y and full of flavour - more so than any other pho I have had, even those in Vietnam - it was so good, I'm not sure I'll be able to return to my usual pho without feeling like I'm missing out. The beef was soft and tender, even the brisket cut, which has a tendency to be tough and unappetising, and the noodles slippery - just like they should be!
I was surprised by FH Alphie's choice, I thought he might go with the turmeric chicken curry or the XO prawns, but he mad the right choice. The duck was crispy tender and succulent served with a rich chicken broth, unlike any I have tasted before.

As I suspected, the location left something to be desired. Fat Noodle is located between the baccarat area and the poker machines, the soundtrack of top40 hits interspersed with the tinny tunes from the poker machines, and people mindlessly hitting that button. Never the less, it seems to be quite popular, with people making a special trip to Star City just to eat there.
If anything, this trip has just made me more determined to get to Red Lantern - if this is what we see when Luke is only the 'consulting chef', I can't wait to see what he can do when he's actually in the kitchen!

PS. sorry about the lack of photos, but that was all I managed before I was asked to put my camera away (just like in Vietnam!)


No comments:

Post a Comment