After watching the UFC at the Carbon Sports bar, I convinced by two friends to go to lunch in an attempt to help balance out the breakfast beverages we’d just had. We were a little pressed for time so we decided to eat somewhere at Crown. As we had a fussy eater with us we decided the 88 Noodle Bar would be perfect as we could all select dishes we enjoyed and at a reasonable cost. Boy did we end up regretting that decision.
Service: Whilst there was no cue outside we were made to wait more than 10 minutes to be seated. It then took another 20 or so minutes to flag down a waiter -which was lucky as we were about to get up and leave- only to wait more than 30 minutes to get our food. During this 30 minutes I watched our food – along with another dozen or so dishes- sit under the heat lamp for a substantial portion of this time. It was very clear during our time at 88 Noodle Bar that the place was extremely understaffed. The couple waiters that were there were trying to seat people, take orders, hand out food, clear tables and take payments all whilst trying to ignore all the people trying to get their attention.
Food and Price: After waiting so long to be served and watching my food sit under a heat lamp for a good 15-20 minutes, I could help but question whether it was the hungry or the actual flavour of the dish that caused me to I enjoy my meal so much. I ordered the prawn wonton with fresh egg noodles, forest mushroom and Chinese cabbage ($16.80), whilst my friends ordered the honey soy pork with capsicum and onion, served with rice ($16.80) as well as the Thai red chicken curry with baby corn, eggplant, basil and lemongrass, served with rice ($15.80). The flavours, textures and portions of each of our dishes were quite good, especially when you factor is the price. Ordering similar dishes in Perth I would not be surprised to be charged at least an extra 25%. However, once factoring the waiting time and the reality that there are a good handful of great Asian places (if you know where to look) that will serve you the same food, at the same quality at the same price, but in a timely manner, it just didn’t seem worth it.
Atmosphere: The atmosphere is nice, striking a good balance between smart-casual dining, a trendy café/restaurant atmosphere and a modern twist on an Asian theme. Due to the layout, 88 does feel overly constricting or crowded even at capacity, which is nice when you only want to focus on your table and those at it.
Summary: All and all the 88 Noodle Bar puts up good, inexpensive Asian food. The variety is nice and means everyone from the fussiest plain eater to a flavour loving foodie will find something on the menu they enjoy, but I don’t know whether that can excuse the poor service. If you have the time –or get lucky enough to go at a time where the place isn’t understaffed, or the cue isn’t a good few metres deep- I highly recommend the 88 Noodle Bar for a good feed. But if like me you value your time highly in respect to monetary value, I would recommend considering elsewhere.