when in Kitchen Inn
I come from a family that is, without exaggerating, absolute noodle fanatics. Have it our way we'd probably have noodles for breakfast, lunch and dinner! So when a new restaurant opens and we hear great things about the quality of their food, we're quite happy to trek a distance in return for a great feed.
One of my mother's friends lives near Kitchen Inn in Kardinya, and has raved about their handmade noodles and the cheap price of it's dishes. Since Jeremy and I are hungry little hippos after a big night out at a friend's wedding, we decide to go to lunch there and take mum too since she's curious about whether it is as good as she's been told.
We arrive about 1pm on Sunday, which is pretty much peak hour. There's people everywhere! Jammed in every corner, sitting outside and even waiting on the takeaway chairs because the chance of a table was just too low. Thankfully we don't have to wait long as a family leaves a few minutes after we arrive and we jump onto the table. So far so good!
Jeremy's the only white person in the place, which I'm actually taking as a good sign (well I'm half a white person so maybe not the only one). It's a sea of Asians, all munching away and looking particularly pleased with their food.
You tiao and red bean bun
We place our orders, including a drink each and then set about waiting eagerly. After fifteen minutes or so we realise it's going to be a long wait since there's quite a few tables around us that ordered before us and are still waiting.
We decide to pass the time by ordering a serve each of You Tiao ($3) and Red Bean Bun ($3) which are sitting under a warming grill. These come out a few minutes later which our waitress has thoughtfully cut up for our picking at - a nice touch.
Unfortunately this is where the pluses end for these items. I love you tiao, it's very much a childhood favourite of mine. It should be light, oily and crunchy from the pastry. But this one is more doughy and bread-like, and sadly quite stodgy. I'm devastated!
The same disappointment springs when we divert our attention to the red bean bun. A great version of this should be crumbly on the outside, with both red bean paste and red beans as the filling. This one had a very minimal slick of red bean paste inside which was rather generic and non-descript. I give up after one bite, it's not nice and as bland as can be.
At this point I have to admit, I'm a little worried about what the noodles are going to be like.
Braised pork flat noodles
About 10 minutes later Jeremy's noodles come out to the table. He's ordered the Braised Pork Flat Noodles in large size ($14.50), which is one of the dishes here that uses the house handmade noodles. It looks great, and is wafting the most delicious aroma under my nose.
The flavour of his dish is great, with the braised pork fatty but flavoursome, the mince perfectly seasoned. I love the use of the egg and the spring onions, which add extra flavour. But the real star is definitely the noodles - thin, well cooked and only slightly chewy, the way they should be. It sets a great expectation for mine and my mother's dishes.
Beef ho fun
After Jeremy's been eating for 5 minutes (we insist he starts so it doesn't get cold), my dish comes out. I hate when dishes don't come out together but since we'd waited so long to receive them I wasn't about to whinge. I don't think they've quite worked out how to cook to order several dishes at a time.
I've ordered the Beef Ho Fun ($7.50) which is stir fried flat kuay teow noodles with beef and vegetables in a egg gravy. This dish is usually a bit of a hangover cure for me so I have eaten many of them, and sadly this one wasn't the best. While it definitely wasn't the worst, it was lacking that wow factor that Jeremy's dish seemed to have. I did like the egg gravy, though it was a little on the thin side.
All in all it wasn't a bad dish, it was relatively enjoyable. And for the price, definitely worth the money.
Penang kway teow
My mum's Penang Kway Teow ($7.50) is the last to come out, but I've been sharing mine with her so she doesn't mind too much. She and I a couple of years ago (pre blogging days) went on a kway teow mission around Perth, trying a different place each week. To date, the best I've had in Perth are from Ten Ten and Hong Kong BBQ.
This one has a nice sambal kick to the flavour, but the noodles have gone mashy and broken instead of being long and seemingly endless. There's not enough smokey flavour embedded in the ingredients which makes me think that their wok isn't hot enough. I do like the bean sprouts though they're cooked just right and give a nice crunch to each bite.
A nice enough dish, but again no wow factor on this one.
I think next time we come back here, which I'm sure we will, both mum and I have agreed we'll need to order a dish like the one Jeremy got. That's the real winner, as it had the handmade noodles (ours didn't) and it had a great punchy flavour. Hopefully next time we come back they might have a better handle on the speed of the kitchen. But at least the meal was enjoyable which makes the waiting time more tolerable!