Chinatown Noodle Restaurant has been on my radar since H mentioned that they serve eggplant dumplings. So even though I’m not a fan of cramped Chinese restaurants, N and I gave it a go after finding it rated highly online (4.3 out of 5.0).
Cramped is an understatement. N and I shared a table next to the busy entrance. The table was fit for two but they insisted on squeezing four. Add to that the table being situated under the direct midday sun, the crumpled napkins and the waitresses assuming everyone spoke Chinese, we needed some truly amazing food to overcome the confirmation of my aversion to Chinese restaurants.
We start with the Handmade Noodles with Beef Stir Fry ($10.80). The noodles have a good bite with just enough chew the way we like it, with the beef having a very meaty flavour, although the mix of capsicum, cabbage, tomato and onion in the stir fry was odd. Critically, the dish lacked the wok hei that makes Chinese food so tasty.
And N goes for her staple Steamed Pork Chives Dumpling (12 pieces for $9.90).
The chives dominated this dumpling, allowing little of the pork flavour to come through. As with many Chinese dumplings, I found the dumplings skins too thick.
Not on their menu but advertised on the walls and windows of the restaurant are the Pan-fried Braised Eggplant Dumplings (12 pieces for $9.90) we came for specifically.
These taste much like the dish with pork mince and braised eggplant that’s a staple at Chinese restaurants. The innards, though, were terribly inconsistent with some dumplings being hot while others were cool, and others having too much braising liquid and others being pale. The dumplings arrived in a pool of oil which quickly softened any crispness there was to the dumpling skins.
The subpar food surprised us after we’d read some positive reviews online. With the cramped and uncomfortable seating we’re likely to never return.
Chinatown Noodle Restaurant is located at 13/8 Quay Street, Sydney NSW 2000.