Reviewers on tripadvisor and urbanspoon rave about Noodle Cart on Blanshard. WHERE magazine, the freebie that all tourists find at their hotel/motel/inn lobbies and at information centers, named it the best new restaurant of 2012. Armed with these endorsements, we decided to have lunch there after walking back to city center from Craigdarroch Castle. Paintings on the walls throughout the restaurant evoke images of Thai daily life and provided lots of color and atmosphere. The menu was extensive. What to try? On the specials board were two dishes: Stir-fried Egg Noodle with Homemade Chilli and Homemade Crispy and BBQ Pork. Hmm, why not?
The better of the two dishes, the egg noodles were tossed with sliced jalapeño chiles, sliced green and red bell peppers, onions, green onions, basil and a sweet-savory dark sauce. Now, I’m as much a garlic lover as the next person, but it was excessive in this dish, overpowering other flavors. In some cases, too much garlic is too much of a good thing, and that was the case here. This would have been an excellent entrée otherwise.
Many of the reviewers in the aforementioned websites were effusive about the crispy pork in all its incarnations. Not so with us. Essentially, the batter around the pork was a paste of rice, including whole grains, that seemed too crunchy. Despite its description, the word crispy is inaccurate since it implies a certain lightness and crisp texture that easily yields to the bite, not the dense, toasted-rice crunchiness that called attention to itself over the pork. Alongside the BBQ pork, which itself had little flavor and much fat, a reddish sauce was poured over both, mostly sweet and lacking in dimension. We would definitely not order this dish again.
Adding to the disappointing experience was glacial service, including one waitress forgetting to bring a requested item. Perhaps the standard menu items succeed where the specials don’t. There were quite a few customers who seemed to be enjoying what they were eating.
1018 Blanshard Street
Victoria, BC V8W2H6