Food and Drink
Posted by Dan Kuseta
29. Aug, 2011
There are two things I like almost more than anything else in the land: dumplings and noodles, especially when they’re handmade. Preston’s Noodle Kingdom ticks both these boxes, which makes it a very special place indeed.
Situated on bustling High St, the bustling Noodle Kingdom has everything I want in a such a place: an old lady hand pulling noodles in the front window, laminated menus, chilli oil, free pots of tea and indifferent staff. The fact that takeaway boxes are sold for 50c at the counter leads me to believe this Kingdom is no subscriber to the school of molecular gastronomy.
While noodles rule the roost, there’s a decent selection of dishes to be had, from Rice Balls in Rice Wine Soup to the Home Made Pancake with Fresh Clam Meat, which I’m informed is ‘slightly chewy, but good’. Call me a sucker, unadventurous, even curmudgeon but I skip these siren songs and make a beeline for the dumplings and noodles.
The Pan Fried Pork Dumplings (12 pcs for $7.50) arrive first and set the tempo of scale. More like mini-South Melbourne dimmies than dumplings, I have trouble negotiating these baby boulders with my admittedly mid-level chopstick skills. The thick, chewy skins give a sense of accomplishment shearing through to get at the herb and minced pork filling. Superb, though I won’t call them dumplings.
Then the noodles rock up, Princes of this Kingdom. The Szechuan Spicy Noodle Soup ($8.50) rides shotgun with the Fried Stripped Noodle with Vegetable ($9.50). The soup is thick, almost a gravy and thick with chilli, peanuts and plenty of bang. The noodles are as soft as you’d expect, though are so damned long I have to hoist the suckers high to clear them from the bowl, an action that leads to the inevitable splashback. Still, ’tis a trifling matter. These noodles are superb to slurp.
Less impressive were the Stripped Noodles. A dry dish of flat noodles cut into squares then stir-fried with veggies, this dish was gluggy, dry and uninspired. Still, as Meatloaf reminds us, two out of three ain’t bad.
Picking up a business card on my way out I learn there are other Noodle Kingdoms on Russell Street and in Adelaide. I’ve never been to Adelaide, but between this and Pie Floaties I might’ve found another reason to visit.
469 High St, Preston
Open daily 10am – 10pm
Melbourne's food trucks take over Barkly Square for a moveable feast on four-wheels.
One of Melbourne's most interesting places is now doing lunch. Be there.
The Hossier Lane cafe is now open late and serving up another American classic: the hamburger.