Food and Drink
Posted by Nola James
15. May, 2012
No one really expects much from an $8 bowl of noodle soup. Bit of broth, packet noodles, half a boiled egg maybe and some bean shoots. Chargrilled, factory farmed, something or other on the top. You kinda get what you pay for and it’s a statement aptly applied to the menu at South Melbourne’s only half decent noodle shop – Meetbowl.
Indonesian (with a slight identity confusion) is the order of the day here. The decor is nonexistent, the drinks menu is very nearly nonexistent and the service is entirely absent. So yeah, you’re only coming for the cheap noodles.
You might discover this place, like I did, sneaking out of the office to kill your hangover (c’mon…like you never drink on a school night?) It’s an extensive snack list for a noodle shop and it has a common theme of fried, therefore giving most dishes a near identical flavour of meat and oil. Although with items like ‘fried balls’ and even better, ‘fried cheese balls’, you can’t go wrong if you’ve a juvenile sense of humour – like myself.
Expect large, steaming heaped bowls of pretty decent broth for little more than loose change. Seafood, chicken, noodles, bean curd…fish balls, beef balls, chicken balls. These guys love balls.
Current favourite (yes, I do eat here once a week) is number 41. Chicken rice vermicelli. More traditional offerings like batako (fried fish dumplings in sauce) and gado gado (Indonesian vegetable salad with peanut dressing) are delicious options for those off the noodle path, they aren’t super traditional offerings but intent is evident.
The only real fail so far has been the duck laksa. Limp noodles were accompanied by the sorriest portion of duck I’ve had the misfortune to witness and the broth failed to find balance, being neither spicy or creamy, mostly giving off the strangely odd flavour of off yoghurt. But that’s the only fail thus far.
Like most of Melbourne’s budget Asian eaters the day is somewhat saved buy the help yourself sauce selection. Stinky fish sauce, sticky kecap manis, fried shallots and many fiery chili sauces will help spice up your lunch. You sure don’t get that at Noodle World.
95 York Street, South Melbourne
Open seven days 11:30am-9pm (although they’re known to close early if business is slow)
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