Posts Tagged ‘asian’


Ben Cooper’s Mopho Noodle Bar opens in South Yarra

There has long been murmur’s of another St Ali venue in the same South Yarra complex as Outpost. Finally it has arrived.  It is a noodle bar serving up well made, south-east asian inspired noodle dishes with good ingredients and plenty of flavour. The concept is a simple, effective and plays perfectly into the hands of Chef Ben Cooper. One of my guilty pleasures is the dodgy noodle box shops that seem to be everywhere, so making amazing noodles is alright with me.

Mopho NoodleThe fitout too is simple and effective. Black panelling and dark wooden tables and chairs are the order of the day. The walls are almost completely covered with cupboards with black cross hatched doors which let you see the dry stock stored within. To some extent, it is a very similar feel to Outpost in that you can see all the ingredients while you dine. The kitchen is separate though and has plenty of fridge space, wok burners and bench space.

The menu is categorised into different styles of dishes, soup noodles; wok noodles; salad noodles; and curries. The dishes themselves are mostly approachable such as the hokkien noodles with slow roasted bbq pork and oyster mushrooms, the classic pad Thai and the spicy pork wontons, egg noodles and shaved cabbage. The menu is by no means limited though and 18 dishes provide a heap of variety.

The 3 dishes that we had were the steamed chueng fung with fried bread salad and soy ginger sauce, the rendang with beef brisket and japanese pumpkin and the scallops, bacon, sambal olek and shanghai noodles. For each of the dishes the key spices really stand out giving each dish a unique spice and tang. The rendang was my favourite, the mouth-melting gelatinous brisket was balanced nicely with a good amount of chilli.

The prices range from $13.50 – $20 and while it isn’t particularly cheap, the higher quality of food is well worth it.

This dish has introduced me to 2 new “favourites.” Brisket is pretty much pork belly from cows. And brown jasmine rice which has a great fluffy texture and more flavour than the white variety.

Though I loved all of the food, my favourite thing about this place is the panda motif. The panda is holding chopsticks and has a green mohawk and star tattoos. It’s a Ben Cooper look-a-like and a pretty funky icon at that. I can see it being sold in plush doll form sooner rather than later.

The Mopho Noodle Panda

Currently Mopho Noodle Bar is open Monday to Friday 10am to 4pm. There are plans to open on Saturdays and Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights but they are taking things slowly. Currently there is no liquor license or EFTPOS but both are to be remedied reasonably soon. It is located at 9 Yarra St next to the South Yarra train station.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Double Happiness, Chinatown

Double Happiness is the quintessential Melbourne bar. Small, out of the way and quirky, this is the sort of place that you would walk past without batting an eye lid, but just try that asian inspired door at the top end of Chinatown and you are in for a surprise.

Propaganda at Double HappinessPresided over by a statuette of chairman Mao and state sponsored propaganda, the space consists of an open arrangement of low couches and the obligatory stools at the bar. Forget about boothes and intimate tables for 2, this open community style arrangement forces you into conversing with your fellow drinkers or provides for a jovial place for a larger group. Even the toilets take the community feel with 1 door between seat and smoking area, unisex toilets and one old laundry sink for your hands.

The asian theme permeates throughout the establishment, the cocktail list consists of contemporary cocktails with asian herbs and flavours. Coriander and ginger, lychee and cardamom mixed deliciously in a combination of smashes, sidecars and martinis. Apart from the strange question of  “How would you like your manhattan, sweet, dry or perfect?” the barman constructed a perfectly balanced cocktail with a perfect dose of sweet vermouth, the requested matuselum 12 year old and a healthy dose of maraschino juice (in the absence of liqueur) topped of with 2 cherries.

Subsequent visits have been met by nothing short of happiness from the barstaff to experiment. Reza (sp?) is the man that always seems to be there and most recently was happy to concoct a libation involving a secret Double Happiness recipe spice syrup, coriander, rye whiskey and vermouth which resulted in a very eastern style mint julep. Dangerously easy to suck down, but perhaps not quite ballsy enough. This collaborative effort with yours truly is what sets this bar apart and seems to be a regular occurence.

It seems that the personalised service isn’t restricted to me alone. Behind the bar there are a number of lockers, storing regular customer’s specially ordered bottles of this and that. I’m told they can and will get just about anything and keep it there just for you when you stumble in late at night for a rare single-malt tipple.

Everything about this bar is friendly, the staff don’t necessarily have the orthodox customer service manner yet it is friendly and welcoming. Their attitude is great, capping off what isn’t necessarily the most popular or trendiest bar in Melbourne. It is more like an old favourite, a comfortable place to go for a late night drink on your own or with friends. A place to sip on a great drink that’s not out of your price range but still made with all the care you deserve. Perhaps this is the communist way.

Seating at Double Happiness Toilets at Double Happiness Entrance to Double Happiness Chairman Mao at Double Happiness Propaganda at Double Happiness Seating Area at Double Happiness