Darwin has a handful of Chinese restaurants, and we keep circling them, year after year, after year, like a never ending game of musical chairs.
Location: 84 Mitchell St, Darwin (see map). Confusingly there is another Noodle House in Darwin CBD around the corner on Knuckey St owned by the same family. The Mitchell St establishment is the newer branch.
Website: official website with a photo gallery of many of their dishes, a variety of reviews on tripadvisor. Amazing, Darwin has urbanspoon too (with minimal activity though, seems to be dominated by bestrestaurants.com)!
Blog reviews about Darwin restaurants are hard to come by (if you have reviewed any of the restaurants here contact me and I'd happily link you, provided your review has a few pictures and decent writing). On a side note, interestingly I've discovered a group of reviewers at Darwin foodies and a Darwin blog about places to eat and shop, and things to do in Darwin.
Price: ranging around $10 for soups and entrees, $25 to $35 for mains (more for seafood). The meal described below was approximately $35 per person. The website has a full lunch, dinner and takeaway menu.
Whole fish fillet with Thai chilli sauce - I think they meant, whole fish (not fillet) with Thai chilli sauce. This was their medium sized red emperor, which was gigantic. And delicious. Deep fried and crispy on the outside, fresh tasting white flesh, and a sweet chilli-like sauce. I'm not a fan of the garlic taste that is inevitably part of sweet chilli sauces, but the sauce suited the dish. "Seasonal prices" for the dish equated to approximately $55. It's nice not having to count the dollars when you're eating out with family.
Chinese vegetables with mushroom - generous serving of tender buk choy, with yummy shitake mushrooms and a starchy sauce that was just right. A simple dish that was beyond my expectations.
Spicy salted squid in chilli flavour - I have good memories about this dish in other restaurants. It's the Chinese version of salt and pepper calamari. The Noodle House version of this dish was terrible. Flavouring was too salty, not spicy enough, the squid was chewy and overcooked. The outside didn't have a crunchy, and was partially burnt. Maybe it would be nicer if it was cooked fresh rather than reheated.
Combination bean curd in a clay pot - we inevitably order this dish no matter which Chinese restaurant we go to. Not recommended, at least not here. The fried beancurd wasn't particularly nice, vegetables were average, and the BBQ pork and few pieces of meat didn't make a great combination.
Boneless chicken with lemon sauce - this dish arrived later so I didn't get a photo. Chicken with a crunchy (but heavy, oily) coating. Tasty, fairly good dish, But I would prefer if the chicken wasn't re-fried until almost brown. I'm not fond of dishes that are obviously not fresh.
Other: environment is nice, colourful interior with a bar adjacent to the dining area. There is a choice of outdoor or indoor seating, square tables or round tables (for larger families and groups).
Rating: The restaurant itself - 2.5 out of 5 (but a five star reunion with the family, aww...) The fish was delicious, and I was impressed by the vegetables. The environment is nice. But this was overshadowed by a few disappointing dishes that were just not fresh, or had been reheated (to some extent many restaurants do this, but it's not great when it's obvious upon tasting). Pricey too.