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Chinatown Noodle Restaurant, Haymarket

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.