I’ve written about my love of the Lemon Grove Shopping Centre in Chatswood before and especially my appreciation of Grape Garden, a Beijing-style eatery. Another eatery that I used to love was a dim sum seller next to Grape Garden, who used to sell all my favourite yum cha delicacies for a fraction of the price. I was absolutely devastated when I saw that it had closed down a few months ago, and hoped that whatever took its place was worthy of the shoes that it had to fill.
When N & M Kitchen finally opened up in the space, I was disappointed to see how generic it seemed – there was nothing to distinguish it or its menu offerings from the dozens of other similar Chinese restaurants in Chatswood. Determined to give it a try for the sake of my favourite dim sum eatery though, K and I visited for a late lunch on a Saturday a few months ago and took our seats in a restaurant that was surprisingly empty for a weekend.
K orders his go-to dish at any Chinese restaurant, tender beef brisket with egg noodles. The beef is well cooked, though I would have personally preferred it to actually be cooked longer to the point where it almost falls apart as you pick it up with your chopsticks. The noodles were excellent though, especially when mixed more thoroughly with the tasty beefy sauce from the brisket. It’s the type of simple and basic dish that really leaves the gleam of oil and a smile of satisfaction on your lips after the meal.
I ordered the seafood noodles (special request for vermicelli noodles) as I always feel like it’s a great measure of how good a Chinese restaurant is whether or not they can cook seafood to its ideal point. N & M Kitchen certainly got this right, with each different item of seafood cooked to peak perfection – the prawns were still firm, the squid escaped the curse of tough chewiness, and the fish fillets were melting in my mouth. The only thing I didn’t like was the fact that the broth was thicker, almost like a short soup. A clearer, thinner, broth would have been more appropriate to these noodles.
Overall, while the dishes at N & M Kitchen were more than satisfying from both a taste and price point perspective, the sad fact is that I probably won’t be back to visit anytime soon. There’s simply too many other similar eateries with the same menu in Chatswood, and there’s nothing particularly distinguishable enough about N & M Kitchen to ensure a quick return visit.