Penne Cole's thoughts on food, travel and more
Honcho Noodle is a ghost town when I arrive. To be fair, this is the pop-up version before the real restaurant opens on Melbourne’s popular Punch Lane, and I am visiting towards the tail end – literally the second last day of the pop up restaurant’s existence. But I still didn’t expect to be the only patron in the restaurant. For the entire time I am sitting there, only one other table of two comes in. In hindsight, it was foolish even bothering to make a reservation.
When I travel for work – which has been pretty much every week since April – I usually dine alone, so my only entertainment is usually my phone, or surreptitious crowd-watching. On this occasion, the only thing I have for company is what looks like a screen grab from Studio Ghibli’s Spirited Away, mirrored in the adjoining wall.
I order a bowl of the Korean noodles with BBQ pork belly – expensive at $23 a bowl. My favourite part is the soup – it is tangy and spicy with the kimchi and great on a cold night. The noodles were a little over-cooked for my liking – not even close to al dente. The soft boiled egg was good, but I was hoping for the shoyu egg you get with a bowl of ramen, so was disappointed to find that it was just a regular egg. The BBQ pork belly was so-so – good flavour, but nowhere near as melt-in-the-mouth tender as the chashu you would get with a bowl of ramen.
Overall, I guess the number of patrons in the restaurant should have been a dead giveaway (pun intended) so if I were the owners of Honcho Noodles, I’d be very worried for the fate of the actual restaurant.
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