An Authentic Taste of Southern China

Just in time for the Lunar New Year and the Year of the Monkey, Noodle Forum has opened a new restaurant in Shafto Lane in the CBD. Noodle Forum restaurateur Ian Chin spoke to Caterlink about his latest restaurant:

‘I have been in the restaurant industry for the last 15 years. It has been a while  ̶  I trained a little as a chef but I was not that good.  But I know how to eat, so that’s good!

The concept behind our restaurant is we specialise in a noodle called zhu sheng mian or ’skinny bamboo kneaded noodles’. Considered the most exquisite of all noodles in Southern China (once only available to royalty and the wealthy), the bamboo kneaded noodle (or thin egg noodle) is a favourite in Guangzhou, Hong Kong and throughout South East Asia.

Traditionally, this style of noodle is produced by kneading the dough using a thick bamboo pole, giving the noodles their signature smooth texture and ‘bite’. I fell in love with the texture and the flavour of these noodles, which is why I opened these restaurants.

Noodle Forum makes its own noodles on-site – the only restaurant in Australia to do so. This is why it is special - we know exactly what goes into it:  no lye water, no chemicals.  We use 40% fresh Aussie eggs, (normally pasta is made of only 10% eggs) and local Australian flour.

We use all local produce so our noodles are fresher and higher quality - so you can actually taste the egg. We combine this with quality local, free range produce such as Exmouth prawns, Borrello Beef and locally caught fish to make the tastiest dishes. The Mt Barker chicken is succulent as is the Plantagenet pork, which is barbecued deep brown. None of our dishes use MSG.

If you want to see how they are made, come and watch Erich Wong, our second-generation master noodle maker of 40 years, demonstrate how to make our star noodles behind a glass window, instore every Friday at the Noodle Forum in Equus Arcade on Barrack Street.

Shafto Lane is an excellent site.  We weren’t specifically looking here but we came through and fell in love with the spot, the bars etc. We were very lucky ̶ through people that we know it came up.

We are open for dinner Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, as well as lunch time, of course.  All of Perth was here on Friday; we were pretty busy with the Fringe Festival.

From concept to opening  ̶  we started in April/May 2015 and we opened here last week. It took six or seven months from start to finish, although we did lose a month over Christmas.

We chose Caterlink to fit-out our kitchen because they are well known in WA for quality, service, and reliability as well.  Dealing with Caterlink is such a nice experience  ̶   there is always support there, they are  very meticulous in recommending products, explaining stuff, placements – they wanted the plans of the kitchen way before we started it! All and all it was a great experience.

We try to continually improve the way we do things in the kitchen  ̶  a lot of that is to do with the equipment. From a Chinese background, we used pretty basic kitchen utensils initially. We have now found better equipment which requires less maintenance and is much easier to clean, which increases our speed. Our Marino Pasta Cooker is quite specialised.  Caterlink helped us custom-make our basket holders. We also have a custom-made portable chiller. We can place it anywhere – it is amazing. We put all our fresh ingredients in there, and it is the right height. We had the bench made specifically low for the fridge. The planning of the kitchen went really well; therefore the equipment was not much of an issue.

Regarding our plans for the future – this has been a very good experience, we just need to a catch our breath! We are planning another, slightly bigger restaurant.  Once we get the kitchen design we will call Caterlink back to do this.’

Noodle Forum, Shafto Lane (872-884 Hay Street Perth)
Lunch - Monday to Sunday
10:30am to 2:30pm
Dinner - Thursday, Friday & Saturday
5:00pm to 9:00pm