When The Sponge called ahead to book a table at the Bliss Noodle Bar, the lady on the other end of the phone seemed surprised. She told him no booking would be required, but The Sponge, being the cautious man he is, asked for one anyway. She took down his name and hung up the phone – she had no way to know whether 20 people would be rocking up at 8.30, or whether a romantic dinner for 2 was planned at 6.30.
Before the Bloggers set off for Bliss, it was decided that it was far too wet and cold for young Stinks to accompany them, so Bliss Noodle Bar became another takeaway stop for the Bloggers. The food was ordered, sans menu, and we chose 2 starters (fried squid and curry puffs) and 5 mains (seafood kway teow, pad thai, red curry chicken noodles, Mongolian beef and garlic prawns). Yes, it was a crazy medley of Asian cultures and far eastern delights that perhaps should not have been eaten together, but mixing cuisines is just one benefit of being an ignorant Caucasian living in this multicultural land.
The Brains and The Deliberator braved the rain to pick up our lorry load of carbohydrates and chilli sauce from the restaurant while BITO and The Sponge stayed back let the $4.99 bottle of red breathe. It was when The Brains and The Deliberator arrived that it became clear that bookings were not required. Bliss Noodle Bar is by no means a huge restaurant, but nor is it a pokey little Asian place you might find on William Street where the toilets are located in the kitchen and the tables are so close together that you couldn’t be blamed for accidentally picking up your neighbour’s last king prawn thinking it was your own. However, Bliss Noodle Bar was empty, but for one group of 4 stuck in a corner, happily oblivious to the barren land surrounding them. The décor was fresh and modern, but were very glad to be going home to eat on the couch by the heater, because the combination of a sleek interior and no diners left the place rather soulless.
But to the positives. The girl behind the counter was friendly and helpful, both on the phone and in person. We were thrilled with the free and generously sized bag of prawn crackers, a touch which seems to have all but disappeared in most local Asian restaurants, and one we would love to see make a come back. When we got the food home, it was generously portioned, piping hot and smelled delicious.
It is difficult to write a review of the food though, as when it came time to discuss our thoughts on the food the conversation went something like this:
BITO: the curry puffs were excellent.
The Sponge: the garlic prawns came with plenty of prawns.
The Deliberator: I didn’t see one prawn in the garlic prawns, it was all vegetables. I also saw nothing but noodles in the red curry chicken noodle dish.
The Brains: I had plenty of chicken in the red curry chicken noodle dish.
BITO: the beef in the Mongolian beef was in cubes, when it should be finely sliced.
The Brains: I liked the beef in cubes.
BITO: the pad Thai was too sweet.
The Deliberator: would you all just stop your yapping and turn the fucking TV up?
In the end we concluded that the problem was that Bliss Noodle Bar was a jack of all trades but master of none. It needs to focus on one country, or even one region (say, South East Asia, rather than trying to cover India, Thailand, Malaysia, China and Vietnam) and really get a couple of dishes to an outstanding level. Instead, everything was fresh and tasty, and some even had just the right amount of schtang, but nothing seemed to be a signature dish or something we would be desperate to go back for. Also, there were way too many vegetables in the meat dishes – if we wanted veggies, we would have ordered them separately, instead we felt they were being used as a cheap filler at the sacrifice of more meat.
Service: Friendly on the phone, and friendly in person.
Food: Good food, but it didn’t knock our socks off.
Ambience: Too bare and cold for a wintery night.
Highlight: The curry puffs.
Lowlight: Too many vegetables in what should be meat-only or meat-majority dishes.
Rating: 3 bags of free prawn crackers out of 5.
Will we be back? If we couldn’t get a consensus on which type of Asian food we wanted that night, possibly. We’d be more likely to visit Northbridge for our Asian food fix though.
Details: Call them on (08) 9471 8988 - the restaurnt is located in the same set of shops as Hanami, right near the Cheesecake store. It was $90 for 2 entrees and 5 mains, including rice and prawn crackers. They are licensed if you want to eat in. We think they’re on the web but a Google search did not reveal the address.
Coming up: Inglewood Pizza is really hanging over our heads. Has anyone been there? Is it ok or should we continue to put it off until one day when we’ve all had enough cans to face it?
... and a big thanks to the Lazy Aussie from The Worst of Perth, who kindly mentioned us in his fabulous (and actually popular) blog. If you haven't already seen it, check it out, it's hysterical.