Box Hill, VIC
The experience of a restaurant is such a subjective thing. I had visited The Booth with my family many years back and didn’t like it very much, but I felt that was mainly because my parents weren’t too impressed with the food, and I was just absorbing their rays of discontent. So would a re-visit 5 years later with the much less food-fussy Chris prove to be a more enjoyable meal?
The Booth has been a moderately successful restaurant in Box Hill for the better part of 10 years now. They don’t have customers crammed in like David and Camy’s, but on the night we visited, there seemed to be quite a few regulars that were greeted with smiles and claps on the back by management.
The menu is long, glossy and detailed. But try as I might, I couldn’t find their specialty Lanzhou beef noodles. The waiter I asked didn’t know anything about it either. But in all fairness, it has been 5 years.
|Deep Fried Pork Chops ($4.5)|
Today may not have been the best day to get a fresh opinion on a restaurant; not when all the stress from uni has squeezed every last bit of appetite from my body. The only thing I wanted was something deep fried to gnaw on, so we started off with a plate of Deep Fried Pork Chops ($4.5). Shame it was more of a cutlet, and a thin, sad looking cutlet at that. Luckily appearances are often deceiving, and this was actually crispy, flavoursome, and you could really taste the ginger, garlic and spring onion marinade they used. I also had my gnaw-on-a-bone craving somewhat satisfied by the bone attached to the end piece of cutlet (then fully satisfied a few days later by a night of debauchery at Gami).
|Beef Noodle Soup ($8.8)|
Since there were no Lanzhou noodles, we settled for what seemed like the next best thing, a deep bowl of Beef Noodle Soup ($8.8) made with Hand Cut Noodles (extra $1.5). The highlight was definitely the hearty, chewy, irregular hand-cut noodles. The beef was moderately tender and the soup was beefy, but it was hard for me to muster up too much enthusiasm, as mum regularly makes this dish with beef so sticky and flavours so complex that any other rendition will just receive a dispassionate ‘meh’. Guess there are downsides to having a masterchef of a parent.
|Chicken Wonton Soup ($6)|
Not being too hungry, I went for a bowl of Chicken Wonton Soup ($6), which was unfortunately borderline inedible. The soup wasn’t subtle, it was bland. The wontons weren’t simple, they were flat-lining. In an attempt to make this more palatable, I added some chilli oil, which was congealed worrisomely at the bottom of the jar. But it seemed to be a good decision; I didn’t get food poisoning, and the soup got some much needed flavour, just enough for me to finish up the 6 wontons.
So 5 years later, I’m now projecting my own rays of discontent. Maybe the food isn’t as bad as I’ve made it out to be, but it was still unimpressive, and I was grumpy and stressed. I guess time didn’t change much about The Booth, besides leave cracks in the faux leather of their chairs.
Rating: 11/20 – cracked leather booths.