The Naughty Chef, Sydney (30th May 2012)

Su Wei and I caught up for lunch today, this time heading to The Naughty Chef located in Hunter Arcade, accessible via the underground walkway from Wynyard Station. I didn't even know this underground pass existed! I guess that's down to the fact I work in North Sydney and not in the CBD like Su Wei - I wouldn't have known of this diner if Su Wei hadn't brought me here!

At 12.30pm, the place was packed with lunchtime customers from the offices around the area. "I'm going to stick to my usual Pho Ga," I thought to myself as I reviewed the menu listed on the wall - pho, rice dishes, salad, rice rolls and food from the smorgasbord 
were among the choices available. We joined in the queue to place our orders - there was hardly any wait as the staff behind the counter were quick to take orders and collect money (cost me $10 for the pho ga). We were given a number and chatted while we waited to collect our food. One would have thought this place only does takeaways since the shop didn't have any tables for dining in but I was informed by Su Wei that the dining area was actually a shop away. Hmm, interesting that the diner is separated by another shop...

I couldn't help but felt slightly stressed out being in the shop that was filled with customers, everyone 'dancing' around one another as more came in to place their order or collect their tray of food. The noodle soups were served in large bowls and broth filled to the brim making it a hazard especially if someone accidentally bumps into the person carrying the tray of hot soup (you really don't want it spilled on you!). Su Wei collected our cutlery while I tried my best to avoid hungry patrons coming into the shop and made my way with our tray with two bowls of noodle soup to the dining area. Phew, what a mission!

The dining area was a lot bigger though only a few tables were available. Seemed to me this place is very popular...We found ourselves an empty table and settled in to enjoy our lunch. With the temperatures dropping as we move into winter, a nice hot noodle soup was just what I needed to warm up. We added to our soups a lemon wedge, some cut chillies and fried shallots as well as took a small disposable container with some Hoisin and chilli sauces each, all of which were available for self-service at the collection area. Unlike most places that serves Vietnamese chicken noodle soup (aka pho ga), The Naughty Chef uses normal mint leaves rather than Asian basil. The broth tasted more home-made (as compared to the one served in Pasteur on George St which has a much tastier broth, perhaps enhanced with the use of MSG) and it was good in general however nothing really to rave about. Perhaps they do better in rice dishes? I guess I'll have to come back to find out!

At the order/pick-up counter

Chicken noodle soup ($10)

The Naughty Chef located in Hunter Arcade

The Naughty Chef Pho Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

It's always great catching up with Su Wei and now that she has agreed to be my chief bridesmaid, I feel so much at ease when talking about my wedding plans (I don't like to 'drown' people in my wedding-related matters). Looking for a wedding dress is next on my to-do list and I'll definitely be needing a second opinion and company when hunting down my dream dress!


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