I was recently invited to attend Fat Noodle's first birthday celebrations and was so impressed by the food at the event that I just had to return a few days later.
Fat Noodle sits on Star City's gaming floor and features large communal tables as well as another section with standard tables. Because it is on the gaming floor, young ones are not permitted and I had to go through the hassle of getting my ID checked. I know it won't be too long before I start taking the ID check as a compliment ;)
Anyway, as you may or may not know, celebrity chef Luke Nguyen is the consulting chef to Fat Noodle and surprisingly, the menu does not stick to his Vietnamese roots. The menu is in fact predominantly Chinese with influences from South-East Asia. As they put it, the menu offers a fresh twist on traditional recipes and ingredients.
The paper menu also acts as an ordering card (be warned, they scribble on it as you order) and placemat, and is split into five categories: small plates, rice, noodle soups, woks and drinks.
I wanted to start with the calamari papaya salad but am advised that they've run out of papaya and would be substituting it with cabbage. That didn't appeal to me at all so we skip entree and head straight into drinks and mains.
Zen orders the fresh lemon ice tea with mint ($4) and I have the fresh ginger lemonade ($4). Minutes after placing our order, a waiter tells us that they may not have mint and asks if it is OK the lemon ice tea is served without it. I thought it was a bizarre thing to run out of but we oblige. What's even more strange is that the drink was served with mint in the end!
I love ginger and use it as often as I can at home - in juices, stir fries and teas - so it's only natural that I really love this ginger lemonade.
Now what we had truly come back for, is a bigger serving of this pho (Vietnamese beef noodle soup). At the birthday event, the pho was served in tiny tubs (scroll down for pics) and despite having a few of those, my pho craving needed to be hit with a big serving like this.
The fat pho noodles ($17) is based on Luke Nguyen's signature recipe and differentiates from the commonly served pho by his use of oxtail.
It is a seriously good pho. The broth is dark and aromatic with hints of star anise, cloves and cassia bark. Slippery rice noodles are served with thinly sliced Angus sirloin, onion, coriander, bean sprouts, mint, Thai basil, fresh chilli and a wedge of lemon.
It may be almost double the price of pho everywhere else, but gosh it's good.
We also share the X.O. Glass Noodles ($17) which are stir-fried with oyster mushrooms, bean sprouts and large Australian East Coast prawns. The spiciness of the XO sauce binds all the ingredients together wonderfully. I'm so glad they didn't tone it down for the mass market.
Plus here's a peek at what was served at the Fat Noodle turns one party a few weeks ago:
Spicy chicken salad; Peking duck; fried tofu with spicy salt; Angus beef
At the bar
Coconut martini; rice paper rolls; soursop, lime and lychee cocktail
Fried white carrot cake (char tow kueh) with XO sauce
Little tubs of pho; chicken and abalone congee; spring rolls
Birthday cake by Adriano Zumbo; Luke Nguyen holding the instant noodle encrusted creature
And I'll leave you with one useful fact: Fat Noodle is open during the wee hours of the morning! So night owls and party animals, rejoice; it is now possible to get awesome pho at 4am!
Level 1, on the Casino Main Gaming Floor, Star City
80 Pyrmont Street, Pyrmont, NSW
Phone: 1800 700 700
Open 7 days: Sun - Thur 11.30am - 2am, Fri & Sat 11:30am - 6am