If you’ve ever wandered around the Chinatown end of George St, chances are you probably walked past this place thinking “when was this here…?” or maybe that’s just me. Either way here it is:
First and foremost, what is Yunnan cuisine exactly? Yunnan is a province south of China with similar cuisine styles to that of Sichuan but also has a bit of diversity thanks to its other neighbouring regions. Home to incredible produce and spectacular farming landscapes, it’s no surprise they focus so much on the quality of the plant life in their food (like mushrooms mmmm).
That’s enough of a geography lesson though, lets get onto this actual restaurant. Surprisingly big (when compared with what it looks on the outside) and a very nice geometrical layout gives it a pretty unique dining location:
With it being full when we arrived, it was about a 5 minute wait before we got a spot to sit. Fast service especially when I’m hungry at waiting is always a plus.
After sitting down and checking out the menu. I thought it was pretty well balanced. With chef specials and recommendations accompanied by a range of traditional noodle and rice dishes, I was getting excited! For us, we both were curious as to taste what literally everyone in the place was eating. The traditional “crossing the bridge noodles”. So for that we got their signature one and my favourite, a mushroom one.
Firstly though, we got some chicken ’cause chicken.
With these bad boys costing less than $1 each, hell yeah! And holy hell they were crispy and juicy and tender and packed with flavour. With a hint of spice along with other herbs used to coat those wings, it was so good, anything else but bland. Freshly fried too so holding them and biting them literally burned me. A necessary sacrifice. I still think Twisted Noodles do it better but this is one hell of a chicken platter.
Now like anything, a name always comes with a story, something that I always found interesting with Chinese culture in particular. The story goes that the wife of a scholar studying for his imperial exams needed to cross a bridge to an island to serve him noodles but when she had crossed, it had all gone cold. So to solve this she instead brought a boiling broth with oil on top to retain the heat and kept the ingredients separate.
Nice stories giving it a nice name (although it’s just listed as rice noodle soup on the menu, they should change it to its traditional name!).
Firstly, did you see the mini pot? HOW COOL DOES IT LOOK? It’s like a cauldron for you to brew your soup. Mini things automagically make things taste better anyway.
How did it taste? Kickass! The mushroom one which I ordered was nicely packed with that mushroom taste. Thanks to their incredible variety of cup, shiitake, oyster, shimeji and enoki mushrooms and with a rich chicken broth, it’s a perfect cold day’s dish. Along with a refreshing selection of vegetables too and Yunnan’s signature thin rice noodles, it really does live up to that Yunnan-traditional cuisine mentioned before. And so much food too. Seriously, there is so much broth and noodles.
The beef dish is similar in concept except of course that the ingredients and broth are different in flavour. With the ingredients the waitress poured into the pot being primarily beef and a cup of quail egg, you could imagine the broth had a very meaty flavour as compared to the mushrooms. The meaty flavoured soup gave it a bit more of a standard noodle-soup taste. Also, it lacks that crunchy texture you get with mushrooms. However if you need that meaty flavour, get this one.
To come to a conclusion, from the way the restaurant looks to the way they serve their food, it was awesome. It’s reasonably priced, the staff are friendly and quick on service and it’s in a convenient location. With the only downside being that they ran out of their mini-pot selection when I asked about it, I am definitely coming back to try other things out. And yes. You should too.