74 Watton St, Werribee. Phone: 9741 8331
The main drag of Werribee is surprisingly rich in cheap eats potential.
Within a couple of blocks are a number of Indian restaurants, including Bikanos, purveyors of fine chole bhature.
There’s a handy-looking fish and chip joint, a couple of charcoal chicken shops and a variety of cafes.
As well, there’s a couple of mixed noodle places – like the recently reviewed and fine Dragon Express, I suspect they’re both Chinese-based but have wider-based menus that dabble in South-East Asia.
Certainly that’s precisely the case at Noodle Land, which I choose for my Sunday lunch, fuel for my first night shift in Geelong after a two-week break.
Inside are all the usual food photographs, a table of locals who look like regulars happily fanging away and – unusual for such establishments – the cricket on TV.
Even better, there are newspapers.
Being a veteran newspaperman, I take special and perverse delight in reading newspapers I haven’t paid for, even if they are a day old and particularly if they still include the foodie bits and pieces.
I start with a trio of chicken dumplings ($3.50).
Far from being aghast at their khaki green skins, I take them to mean these babies are made on the premises.
They’re quite delicate and tasty, though like their chook cousins, chicken sausages, they have no chicken flavour at all.
Pickled cabbage and carrot – of the kind often found served with Vietnamese vermicelli and rice dishes – on the side is a nice touch.
Hard-won wisdom tells not go with roti with my beef rendang ($10.50), so I go with rice instead.
Quite predictably, this will never make the grade in the Malaysian hot spot of Racecourse Rd and environs in Flemington, but it’s actually pretty good.
It’s very mild, but the gravy is plentiful and of fine taste, and the meat is tender and almost fat-free.
We’re so lucky to be surrounded by incredible and uncompromised food so close to our home that it’s tempting to get a bit sniffy about such fare.
But certainly, I’ve had much, much worse, ahem, “curries” in places of Chinese derivation
If I lived in Werribee, I’d probably be a regular at Noodle Land.
As it turns out, I’m partial to having a feed after having put myself a few kilometres closer to my work duties in Geelong, so the occasional stop in Werribee will likely continue to be part of my routine.
It just may take a long while to get a handle on what’s hot and what’s not.