Biang Biang- Haymarket

My baby shot me down………

This Sunday lunch-time we found ourselves at Upper Dixon St, you know that block purely devoted to Asian restaurants? (even more so since N2 closed down). So with the crowds considerably thinner on a Sunday arvo, we manage to be walk-ups to Biang Biang, a fast food restaurant serving up Northern Chinese food.

After a short study of their menu and placing our orders at the service counter, we exchanged some cash and were given a buzzer and free to elect a table at their adjoining dining area. There’s around 16 tables for 2, configured into different 4 and 6 seater groupings (probs on a busy day/night you’d have to share a table with strangers if you’re dining alone or as a couple). As it was a glorious autumn’s day, we elected to sit at the tables closest to the outdoors, part open air (feeling the nice breeze) and part indoors (so we could still hear their Mando pop-playlist).

We’d ordered from their signature dishes (which were all labelled with a thumbs-up icon)- the Pork Rougamo for me ($8.00), the Spicy potato Rougamo for my wife ($6.00), and a serving of the Beef Biang Biang noodles to share ($13.00).

The food was ready in no-time! In the time it took us to decide on a table, settle ourselves, grab some complementary water from the self-service station (water was laced with lemon juice), and as my wife was lining up the habitual restaurant interior shot, the buzzer was already vibrating across the table.

What my wife came back with on a tray were the Rougamos, if you’re unfamiliar with the term ‘Rougamo’, they’re essentially Asian toasted sandwiches? As you can see in the pics, they’re flat like a sandwich, but round like a burger bun, filled with your filling of choice, and then probably squashed/cooked in a device which resembles a sandwich maker? And as they came in a paper bag, I’d imagine easy eating while on the run.

And as we were positioning them for their glamor shots, the buzzer vibrated across the table for a second time, our Biang Biang noodles were also ready! **Note: All of this played-out within 5-10 minutes, talk about fast food!

The noodles came in a bowl usually reserved for soup noodles, but without the soup it meant that there were a lot of noodles to consume! A lot to consume!

As we wanted to tuck-in while everything was hot, we decided that I’d have my Rougamo first, while my wife made a start on the noodles. The first bite into the Rougamo…… Um, it was a little tasteless? Admittedly I only tore away a bun portion, but it was a little dry, very flaky (which was a good thing), but lacked any flavour (Think of eating Arnott’s Jatz, but softer?). But when I managed to get a proper bite with the filling, it was much nicer! The pork was diced up bits of pork belly, so there were real bits of meat and bits of tasty pork fat. Yum! When I finished the Rougamo, although they were thin and didn’t look all that substantial, I still felt 75% full. Full enough that I could have walked away if needed. But I still had my share of the noodles to tuck into!

Moving the large bowl in front of me, I unleashed the chopsticks onto the Biang Biang noodles! They were mildly spicy with chilli oil coating the noodles, there were chunks of beef brisket, but aside from the noodles and the 5 pieces of meat, there wasn’t much else. But there was a heck of a lot of noodles, and the Biang Biang noodles were huge! Picture Fettuccine pasta, so they were a flat noodle, but probably three times as wide, three times as thick, and at least double the length! I tried fitting one unbroken noodle strand into my mouth, feeding it and feeding it in, and I’m sure I looked ‘real adult’, playing ‘Chubby bunny’ with my food.

When my wife got to her Rougamo it was cold by this time, and the ingredient which gave the potato the chilly kick was Sichuan Ma la peppers (which is an acquired taste, which we never quite acquired). So she wasn’t all that impressed by it and actually advised me not to try when I asked if I could have a bite.

In the end she gave up on her Asian sandwich, and we migrated the bowl of noodles across to her side of the table again. But curious to see what her Rougamo tasted like, admittedly I did scavenge the leftovers of her Spicy potato sandwich and it was pretty unpleasant. The potato was raw and crunchy, the Marla left my tongue numb and smarting all at the same time, and when the bun was cold it was even more like a Jatz cracker.

We actually passed the noodle bowl back and forth a few more times, until I eventually finished the last strand (or should I say last bungy cord of noodle), and to fill 2 for $27, I was pretty satisfied. My Rougamo was tasty, the noodles were unique, and it was nice sitting in the open air. But my wife’s view was different, she didn’t like her Rougamo, and her knocks on the noodles were that it was a large serving but there wasn’t any veg and 5 pieces of meat didn’t cut it in her opinion. So although it was only $27 in total, she didn’t believe it was value for money.

So for the first time since blogging, we had differing opinions on a restaurant. For me, I was happy to give them a score of 4.5 from 5! While my wife was leaning towards a 2.5 Star rating! What to do? As there was a difference of 40%? But we did find a middle ground for our score (which did lean closer to her end of the spectrum) so you can say ‘Biang Biang, my baby shot me down’ (Nancy Sinatra, 1966).

Our end verdict, 3.0 Stars from 5 (1.5 from 3 for Food (as half of what we ordered was a miss); 0.5 from 0.5 for Service (as the staff were polite and efficient); 0.5 from 0.5 for Atmosphere (as it was nice sitting in the breezeway, on a lazy Sunday afternoon with the Mando pop playlist going on in the background); and 0.5 from 0.5 for Value for money (although $27 for 2 people is pretty reasonable, but we received large amounts of the ‘cheaper’ ingredient, and only a limited amount of the ‘good stuff’ i.e. the meat)).

In the end, I’m open to giving Biang Biang a second chance, they had a whole section in their menu devoted to fried bread chunks, which has peaked my curiosity; but I’m not sure how much convincing is required to get my wife on board for a second shot- Bang Bang! *Finger gun*. Or should it be Biang Biang?

Biang Biang Haymarket- Sunday 10 March (3.0 Stars)

PH: (02) 9261 2745

39/2, 1 Dixon Street, Haymarket NSW

Mon – Sun 12noon – 10pm

**Accepts cash only.

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