Decided to take a break from work and headed down to Wanton Noodle Bar along Amoy Street to have dinner with my mum (instead of Pugs) this evening. To be precise, the text I sent her was, ‘want to go eat atas wanton mee?’, to which she gamely agreed. I had been meaning to try this place for a while, a shophouse looking like a bar, serving wanton noodles and of course, drinks.
When we went in, the place was almost empty, but we were still relegated to the bar counter as those were apparently the only two remaining seats that were not reserved. I was slightly doubtful as to the veracity of this, but as we ate, people did come streaming in, mostly angmohs though.
Between the two of us, we had one wanton noodle combo set, and an additional order of boiled dumpings. Soup is free flow and self service. A huge jar of hot soup is placed at each table. The soup, admittedly, was quite nice and refreshing. Not too salty and did not taste of msg. woohoo. Unfortunately, the rest of the meal was quite disappointing.
We were served with the egg and the bowl of kailan first. It was rather bewildering, why there was an egg and a bowl of kailan in front of me, with no noodles, and my mum asked if that was all the $12 combo set included. My mum, I think, is disillusioned with places that she claims are ‘fake atas’, trying too hard to be pretentious, and she wouldn’t bat an eyelid anymore if that was really what $12 gets you in this day and age.
We waited a bit for the noodles to arrive, but when it didn’t and we got bored of staring at the food aimlessly, we decided to start picking at the food first. The kailan was passable, though rather oily and salty. I liked the fried garlic garnish though, but how hard is it to fry garlic right… The egg was half cooked, like unseasoned ramen eggs, but not very good at all. My mum informed me that Pugs’ ramen eggs are much better and much nicer any day. (one point to Pugs.)
A short while later, the dumplings arrived (when ordering, I asked the waiter what the difference between boiled dumplings and boiled wantons were and he gave me a very dissatisfactory non-answer… which was to read from the menu that wantons had coriander and dumplings had spring onions…. right. I am literate too…). But no matter, maybe my question was badly phrased and I should have asked if the filling was any different rather than the broad open ended question of differences between dumplings and wantons.
The wantons were decent, but nothing to shout about as well.
After playing around with our food a while longer, the noodles FINALLY arrived. to be fair, it looked quite good, with pork belly, roast meat, and two boiled wantons buried under the noodles. i tucked into the bowl eagerly, leaving my mum eating the dumplings that I abandoned.
the photos look much better than it tasted, not that the food was bad. It just wasn’t spectacular, and certainly isn’t worth the hype it’s getting online. The noodles were alright, the pork belly was tasty, the roast meat was at best ordinary (although the skin was quite nice and crispy but that’s about it). Still, it was really nothing to shout about, and I soon pushed the bowl over to my mum who also gave me a look (and then stared pointedly at all the angmohs who were trickling in for wanton mee).
I guess the draw of the place is really the… well. place. the way they fixed it up and jazzed up hawker food. its a good attempt, i must say, to increase the appeal of local food amongst foreigners and all that nonsense, but I wouldn’t come back here for dinner. Not when I can get much better wanton mee 10 steps away at Amoy hawker centre.