Are the chopsticks really the most distinctive feature of the two sticks experience?
Oddly on a Friday night, Two Sticks seemed like a quiet haven from the hustle and bustle of da city- with music playing at low tones, patrons sparsely sprinkled around the collection of round tables, and the diners all having their low volume conversations.
It has been several years since we’ve last dined at the Sticks, and we noticed a few changes i.e. the store has now taken over the shop to its right; they’ve introduced a ‘Value meal’ – a choice of A and B, or A and C; and we had a debate about whether or not the pots had changed as well?
But after labouring over the Value meal ( a choice of 3 soup noodles from section A; a choice of a handful of sides in section B; or a choice of one of 2 drinks in section C), in the end we decided to just order from the regular menu. I ordered the Signature Rice Noodle Soup ($13.80); my wife wanted the Tomato Beef but they’d run out, so she ended up ordering the Pork Ribs Rice Noodle Soup ($13.80); and a serving of the Spicy Chicken Wings to share ($5.80 for 5 mid-wings). Orders and payment were made at the front counter and tap water was a self-service affair.
After returning with her water in a plastic disposable cup, we sat back and took in Two Sticks – 6 years since it first opened in 2013. At that time, Two Sticks was a recommendation from my good mate, his wife was a trending Foodie and had been invited as a guest to dine at the Sticks when it first opened.
At the time, their uniqueness was the fact that your food was served up un-cooked, and in front of you the waiter would tip your plate of uncooked ingredients into your piping hot pot of soup (in the process, cracking a quail egg in as well) and you wait as the once boiling hot soup cooked your meat and egg to a level where it was safe to eat.
But those were the days of Two Sticks in the mid-2010s, these days the pot is served up with all your ingredients already in your pot all cooked and ready to eat (although the ceramic pot is still hot enough to garner a ‘hot pot’ warning from the waitress after she placed it in front of us).
The point of argument between my wife and I, was that I swear the pots used to be taller, less squat, and were made from terracotta, instead of these ceramic squat pots? *Shrugs*. But armed with a long-handled soup ladle and your two sticks, you go fishing for food from your squat narrow-opening pot, like ice fishing it is!
In my Signature Rice Noodle dish, there were circular rice noodles, strips of bean curd, coriander, black fungus, thin sliced rare beef, and 2 (yes, count them!) – 2 hardboiled quail eggs! All of which were floating in a pot of tasty thin soup.
My wife’s Pot is the one pictured above, she had all the same core ingredients as I, however her soup was red tinged due to the spiciness, and instead of having rare beef she had pork ribs. Many many pieces they gave her, they did.
And the wings, it reminded me of the charcoal grilled chicken wings you used to be able to get from Pizza Hut? The skin was charred to a crisp, and dusted with chilli powder. Mmmmmm.
Our verdict? 4.0 From 5 Stars! (2.5 from 3 for Food (everything was tasty and they were very generous with their portions, my pot felt like the magical pot! There was always another spoonful of food, just when you thought you were finished!); 0.5 from 0.5 for Service (all the staff were polite and efficient); 0 from 0.5 for Atmosphere (the music was only playing in the front half of the store, and the shop fittings felt a little tired and worn after 6 years); and 1.0 from 1.0 for Value for Money (2 quail eggs? Ridiculous! And recently we’ve eaten at a few restaurants at this price point, but I’ve left feeling the most full and satisfied after our time at Two Sticks!)).
In conclusion, after 5 and 1 years, Two Sticks does feel a bit frayed around the edges, and the number of clientele on a Friday night (it was probably 60% full) was a reflection of this. But after all these years, the quality of food has remained at the same high level, although not served up in the same way as before. And I don’t know why, each time I think of their name Two Sticks, I always think to myself……Really? Are the chopsticks really the most distinctive feature of the Two Sticks experience? If I was in the marketing department, I’d suggest ‘Squat Pot – Long-handle Ladle’ (spoken out loud in the same cadence as Foxtrot Uniform Charlie Kilo- by the Blood Hound Gang), or perhaps ‘2 Eggs’? As who else serves you 2 quail eggs in each serving of food? Count them! 2! Ridiculous!
Two Sticks- Friday 16 August (4.0 Stars)
PH: 0420 944 532
694 George Street, Haymarket
Mon-Sun 11.30am – 9pm