Shop 1/92 Charles St, Seddon. Phone: 9689 9475
Noel, Wok Noodle’s front man, reckons his joint is the first Malaysian restaurant in the western suburbs – and I reckon he’s right.
There’s a few places in Foostcray central, and a few more in Williamstown, from whence you can order a laksa or a mee goreng, but often the only relationship such dishes ordered in such places have with Malaysia is strictly nominal.
The nearest dinkum Malaysian, and really fine Malaysian at that, is to be had in Flemington – well within Consider The Sauce territory but not, as Noel points out, strictly speaking in the western suburbs.
So Wok Noodle is it – and very welcome it is, too.
In fact, it seems truly bizarre in a neighbourhood wherein within a few kilometres one can dine Vietnamese, Chinese, Indian and various African styles that it has taken this long for a Malaysian eatery to set up shop.
The previous inhabitant of these Charles St premises had lived a relatively long but obviously hard-going life as an awkward compromise between a snacky cafe and one of those places that sells pre-made meals for heating up at home. But their curries, stews, salads and soups always seemed so preposterously over-priced that I am suspicious of Wok Noodle in case there is connection or hangover from the previous tenants.
No, there is not.
Indeed, the prices are all ball park for this kind of food – soup and wok noodles all $10.50, Hainan chicken rice for $11.50, sambal dishes for $14.50 and up depending on your taste in seafood, two curry puffs for $5.
A plain roti costs $3.50, or you can have it with potato ($7) or chicken curry ($8.50), or peanut sauce ($6).
Gado gado costs $9.50.
As the above illustrates, the menu range at Wok Noodle is orthodox Malaysian – but that’s fine by us, particularly if the food is as consistently good as that presented us in our first meal.
The interior is bright and breezy, there is a good view of the kitchen action and chilled water is delivered unasked to our table.
My mee goreng is minus the tomato tang often part of this dish, and very mildly spiced, but nevertheless delicious. Big and bursty prawns, fishcake, tofu, chicken, egg, sprouts, some greenery all dance delightedly with a lip-smackingly fine dark brown curry gravy and egg noodles. It’s topped with shredded lettuce, while a slice of lemon on the side does good work near the end of my meal, tarting things up just when needed.
Not for the first time, Bennie finds the lure of both dumplings AND roast pork impossible to ignore, so orders the wonton broth – a basic brew of thin egg noodles with very good dumplings and slices of pig, greenery courtesy of choy sum, all in chicken broth. It’s plain but satisfying.
And that’s our first of what is likely to be many meals at Wok Noodle.