Way back when, I was given the opportunity by AU Review to check out Wok on Inn. It’s but one restaurant that’s part of the formidable line up at East Village in Zetland (think The Village Crow, Lucio Pizzeria, and Taste Baguette) that’ll be competing for the chance to fill your bellies on a lazy day.
This Zetland branch marks Wok on Inn’s sixth restaurant in Sydney, churning out oodles of noodles in all your favourite Asian flavours. We’re somewhat skeptical of any restaurant that touts to be an expert in more than one cuisine, but one look at the beautiful décor and you can’t help but want to linger here awhile.
Spicy chicken dumplings – $6.95 for 6 pieces
The starters began to roll out with these chicken dumplings served in a spicy soy sauce. The shape of them resembles little shu mai, not unlike what you might get at yum cha except this is made from chicken. It’s worth mentioning here that Wok On Inn doesn’t serve any pork-based dishes. The dumplings have a lot of flavour but not to worry, intense spiciness isn’t one of them. I’d happily pop these in my mouth in quick succession because they are quite moreish.
Vegetable curry puffs – $3.95 for 2
Next were the curry puffs made from mixed vegetables and curry spices rolled in crispy puff pastry. As it stands the curry puff itself is a delightful mouthful, the spices come through and the pastry is crunchy without being too oily. We would’ve preferred a bit more filling to pastry ratio, as there were some hollow sections within the puff pastry casing. The menu also specifies that a sweet chilli sauce accompanies these but we were instead given something far thicker and tangier, almost like mango chutney. Unsure what the sauce was but it didn’t work with the curry puff at all so we opted to have it dry instead.
Vegetable spring rolls – $3.95 for 2
The rolls are fresh vegetables and glass noodles rolled in golden pastry, not too bad but also served with the same weird mango hoisin sauce that we leave untouched.
Prawn and chicken pad thai – $13.95
Pad thai is slowly becoming an Australian national dish in itself with the abundance that we have of it here and the frequency in which we tend to order these sweet and savoury noodles. It might not be the most authentic of Thai dishes but it’s a pretty good standard in which to measure the calibre of a restaurant. Wok on Inn’s version features home-style rice noodles with egg, green shallots, crushed peanuts and dried shrimp. On the menu, their pad thai actually bears a ‘gluten-free’ icon right next to the name which is a pleasant surprise considering how hard it is to cook Asian food without gluten. This would probably be quite a hit with the gluten intolerants amongst us. We like that this pad thai is packed with chicken and prawns (a few hidden underneath the mountain of noodles). It tastes fresh with a homemade touch, different to the usual greasiness that we associate with Thai takeaway joints.
Uncle’s Drunken Noodles – $12.95
Thai basil and homemade chilli paste are stirred into flat rice noodles, egg and your choice of chicken or beef. It seems as though we were given a combination of everything as our noodles have chicken and beef and seafood. We’re a big fan of the strong herby taste, Wok on Inn does not skimp on fresh basil leaves. It’s a fair bit spicier than the pad thai and we love that this is a lot more savoury than sweet. With a cheeky name like drunken noodles, we’re tempted to come back after a long night to test its hangover curing powers.
Malay laksa, egg noodles with prawn, calamari and mussel – $13.95
The laksa is visually stunning, almost to the point of intimidating because of how full the bowl is with seafood toppings. The egg and tofu puffs are a great addition too, but this is the part where we run out of positives to say. The egg noodles are a little thin and scraggly, reminding us of the texture of instant noodles. The broth itself has a weird slightly sweet taste yet also reminiscent of diluted Indian curry. One half of us dining at Wok on Inn is a born and bred Malaysian and stated that this is a far cry from anything remotely “Malay”. The laksa unfortunately remains largely untouched aside from the seafood which we continuously fish out to not let it go to waste.
While the starters aren’t anything to call home about, two of their mains held their own quite formidably. We recommend Wok on Inn for when you’re hankering for some Asian food that’s fuss-free and easy to eat. Zetland on a Sunday is families with prams and small children playing tag, it’s hard to believe that your actually in a suburb right next to the city. Having a simple and peaceful lunch here one weekend isn’t a bad idea at all.