Friday, 8 July 2011

Sea Bay Handmade Noodle Restaurant

Shop 5, 100 Church St
Parramatta, 2150
(02) 9633 1173
Category: Cheapo ($0 - $50)

With establishments such as the above, it is all about the food. So whilst the final score may seem low please do focus on the score which the food attains.
Sea Bay is actually already a very popular brand by most inner-west folk. With its flagship nestled on Burwood Rd they have decided to expand and as they say… go West.
The Parramatta restaurant itself is not really that inspiring however. Anchored towards the more quiet side of Church Street (heading towards all the car yards) the shabby sign out the front and pictures of the food with written price tags does not really make this a romantic spot, nor a place to be seen. Parking is ok, with a car park next door, otherwise it does make it quite difficult to access.  
That is just the outside too; the inside does not get any better. Poor décor, ok lighting, shabby menus with white labels over certain products with new hand drawn prices and vinegar and soy sauce in tomato sauce squeezers on the table. Despite all this however, I like places like this. There is something about shabby menus, bad décor, the waitress dressed like she is going to uni (jeans, and coloured tee with a cap) and a generally poor outlook. Maybe it is the fact that given all these things are not quite right, one thing must be… the food!  
Let’s start with the service though. It is… well, it is service. I must say, if you don’t speak Chinese you will need to point and I would not really ask for special requests, however it is quick and it is efficient. it does not exactly come with a smile however the wait staff are informative enough. We order 3 different bowls of noodles; their recommended beef with noodles, my wife opts for the noodles with dumplings, and I go for a classic noodle with spicy beef and cucumber stir through. We round things off with dumpling (xiao long bao). You get served loose leaf tea which is actually a lot better than most yum cha establishments I have been to I must say (I was pleasantly surprised).
Now the food… firstly, for those of you who have never tried handmade noodles, I suggest you try some bought packet stuff and have it the night before or even a couple of days just so you remember the texture etc, because you are in for a treat. All their thick, bouncy, thick white strands are made on site. Bashed, slapped, smacked around before being stretched into long strands of heaven. Our 3 noodles arrive, and at around $10 - $12 a bowl, they could easily feed 2 people for the 1 bowl. Seriously… they are huge servings, and it tastes fabulous. The way it enters the mouth is different, the way it chews, separates, and dances in the mouth is an experience you should all try.
The dumplings are good and great value, juicy and you get 10 for your troubles, however they are not as near as classy as those you would find in Din Tai Fung. The lamb skewers are also worth a go too for those carnivores however this place is all about the noodles. There should be enough variety to keep everyone satisfied including vegetarians.
Overall, I really like this place. Simple, honest, cheap food. Also amazing if you are looking for a really big feed that is a little more on the healthy side.  This is my local hang out for a quick meal.

Bottom line:
To be honest, unless you do eat a lot, 1 bowl can be shared between 2 and you can then order something small on the side. Max $30 for 2 however if you are small eaters can get away with probably $20, and that is a steal!

Food                                       7.5/10
Value                                      3/3
Cleanliness                            1/2
BONUS                                   1/2
NB. I have taken out service & decor as a score for the 'Cheapo' category as the 2 are not relevant, nor to me dramatically important as it is all about value (hence it has been added), and quality and less about the overall dining experience. So effectively it scores 12.5/17, however for consistency I have re-calcuated to reflect a score out of 20

Total                                       14.5/20

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