Footscray Noodles In A Box Cafe, 83 Nicholson St, Footscray. Phone: 9687 8882
I reckon that would’ve been a common reaction when many citizens realised Footscray mall was to become home to a noodle box establishment.
In a neighbourhood teeming with outstanding noodle options, it did seem like a food faux pas indicating unimagination running wild.
So now that it’s been up and running for a while, what’s the story?
Is it more than the signage might suggest?
The answer is an unequivocal, “Yes!”
Sure, there are noodle box stalwarts such as wonton noodle soup and “chew kawi teow”.
And doubtless, it’s possible to order them in a box.
(I hate them, by the way – food killers!)
But this Sunday lunch time, when the cafe is one of the very few mall businesses actually open, the place is busy with customers, several of them hungry types of the Asian persuasion tucking in to big bowls of soup ‘n’ noodles.
As well, there’s other stuff going on here – affogato, chips, breakfast. And I bet they do a killer coffee.
I’m partially hankering for laksa, but spying the hand-written specials list at the serving counter, I have no hesitation in ordering pho.
What better way to see if these folks can rise above the baggage that goes with noodle box associations of mediocrity?
My one-size-fits-all, $10.50 beef pho is fabulous.
Joining the lean sliced beef are slices of a fattier cut, beef ball discs and even some brisket.
The broth is a deepish brown with heaps of flavour.
Black pepper from the beef balls combines with red chilli slices to really give this soup bowl a hefty spice kick. I subsequently discover the chillis used are a shorter, hotter variety than is normally the case.
Given the quantity of meat, it’s a serve far larger than I can complete – if they sold small, medium and large, I’d order small.
Still, it’s been a killer lunch, with smiling, friendly service a bonus.