Restaurant and food reviews from Perth, Australia

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Big Bowl Noodle House, Northbridge

Noodles freshly made from scratch by a machine upon your order?  An interesting concept for Perth, and being in Northbridge a different way of getting your noodles in an area where there are plenty of offerings.

Big Bowl Noodle House is situated on the northern end of William Street.  Its location is amidst other Asian eateries and shops though it has quite a simple and relatively small street frontage which doesn't give a lot away.  Big Bowl Noodle House isn't a large venue, and its interior is orderly and relatively simple and clean.  This simplistic approach pretty much suits the style of the noodle shop and the relative speed of serving noodles in most noodle places generally.

Prices of the noodle dishes average $9-14 which seem to sit on the mid to higher end of the spectrum for common noodle places around Perth and Northbridge - but you are getting freshly made noodles albeit by a machine.  Looking at the menu, there are quite a few different noodles on offer including noodles with soup, dumpling and wonton noodles, stir fried noodles, and baked noodles.  The menus are bright and show example photos of some of the offerings on the menu.

When you order your dish, you are given a choice of three different noodles to choose from.  Based on what I could gather, you can choose thin noodles, thick noodles or a wholemeal type of noodle.  After you make your order and pay, the order is forwarded through to the kitchen and your meal is prepared.  Looking from the ordering/payment counter you can see three large containers of flour feeding into what appears to be three different machines - presumably each machine corresponds to each type of noodle.  A member of the staff uses the machine to obtain noodles from the machine and then takes them into the cooking part of the kitchen.

A short while later, the noodle dishes are served once cooked.  The serving sizes at Big Bowl Noodle House appear to be relatively large, without being too much.  Before going into the specific dishes, I will say that the noodles do taste different to your standard noodles you get from other venues.  The noodles do in fact taste fresher and have a lighter texture and taste to them.  They do taste like they are made-to-order and cooked just right such that the noodles appear to not stick to each other, have no side tastes, and were cooked through but not soggy.

Seafood laksa noodle soup - $12.90

This dish came out in a relatively large bowl and when you consider the cheaper pricing against other laksas in the area, it probably should be.  This dish lacked any choice of rice versus egg noodles or combinations thereof, but as the noodles are all of the made-to-order variety isn't necessarily a bad thing.

In addition to the noodles, the laksa came out with a variety of other ingredients including tofu, carrots, squid, prawns, fish cake, bok choy, and spring onions - which are not strange for a seafood laksa.  The soup was reasonably hot with chilli which is great if you like spicy foods and hot is really how a laksa should be.  However, there were two differences in this laksa compared to your common laksa.  The first thing was the amount of salt.  This dish was relatively salty for my tastebuds, and compared to many other laksas I have tried it seemed to affect the flavour of the laksa that I could taste.  The second was the distinct lack of coconut milk to create a creamy laksa soup.  Coconut milk is common in the curry type laksa soups and it generally adds to the richness of the taste, though some places do curry laksa without coconut milk.   However, coconut milk also adds to the amount of fat in the dish so whether or not you prefer coconut milk is up to you.

Combination seafood baked noodle with cheese - $13.80

In this dish, I opted for the thick noodles.  It came with king prawns, squid, sliced fish cake, some vegetables (such as Chinese shiitake mushroom and onion) and a lot of creamy cheesy sauce.  Being cooked then baked, this dish takes a bit longer than other dishes to come out.  As the baking dish is hot, the dish full of the noodle bake is served on another plate.  The dish comes out with a slight golden tinge on top, which is caused from the cheese.  Eating it gives a slight melted cheese taste caused by the browning of the creamy cheese sauce throughout the noodles.

The sauce itself was quite creamy and not too cheesy.  Being the cheese lover I am, I would have preferred a slightly more cheesy mix, but otherwise the sauce is a mild cheese and cream mix that isn't strongly flavoured in any particular way but also seemingly not sickening in large portions (e.g. if it was too rich).

Overall, the soup noodle dishes we tried don't seem to stand out to me as being clearly better than other places though Big Bowl does seem to attract a fair amount of customers.  However, the freshly made noodles did taste different and fresher to what you get from other noodle places that use more generic noodles so that's a plus.  So if you like your noodles and want to try them freshly prepared in a dedicated noodle shop, Big Bowl Noodle House might be right up your alley.

Points of note: Freshly made machined noodles.  The taste of the dishes don't seem to stand out though for my tastebuds.

Go for: To try the freshly made machined noodles.

Big Bowl Noodle House
408 William Street
Northbridge, WA 6004

(08) 9228 4448

Trading Hours
6 days (closed Wednesdays): 11:30am to 8:30pm

Big Bowl on Urbanspoon


Tamarind Restaurant Mt Hawthorn said...

I just found out that Laksa means spicy noodles, well, I found your Seafood Laksa Noodle Soup very interesting and I would love to taste it someday. Just make sure that it is really spicy though... :)

Adrian said...

I thought this was one of the spicier laksas I have tried in Perth but of course they get more hot in Asia. Laksas are nice :)