Hong Kong Noodle Bar, 306 Main Rd E, St Albans. Phone: 9367 2525
Hong Kong Noodle Bar has a very similar name and look to a very similar establishment in Footscray – could be they’re even related in some way.
We’ve generally found the Footscray version to be of such haphazard service levels that we stay away.
But that’s not the reason we’ve taken so long to check out the one in St Albans.
That has had more to do with more alluring options around the corner in Alfrieda St.
For this lunchtime, though, none of them appeal … and even the banh mi places are all a-jostle.
So in I go … and end up very happy that I have done so.
For this seems like an everyday eats joint of quite some excellence.
The basic vibe is Chinese-style BBQ meats, with the roast beasties hanging in the window, the comforting chopping sound that can elicit pavlovian drool and – at one end of the kitchen – a handsome, large and rotund oven that indicates the roasting is done in-house.
Although double-banger rice or soup noodle plates are not on the menu, I have little trouble in arranging a soup bowl with both soya chicken and BBQ pork.
I love the way the sediments from the roast meats flavours the broth.
I don’t ever remember having this sort of soup bowl with anything other than squiggly, commercial egg noodles. I’m not sure I’d like it if I did.
Same goes with the MSG. Fine by me … for eating out. Does anyone use MSG at home?
There’s a good supply of bok choy.
As for the meats …
The chicken seems to be almost all breast meat, and thus a little on the dry side but blessedly free of bones.
The pork is sinfully rich, fatty and delicious.
It’s a cracking lunch for $8.
Honk Kong Noodle Bar flirts with a few dishes of Thai or Malaysian derivation, but I reckon tried and true is the go here.
Indeed, some of the rice plates I see around me look both fine and big, with bells and whistles – small bowls of soup and fresh chilli slices – that are not always the norm.
I wish we had one in our immediate neighbourhood.