Melbourne CBD Eats
This post covers a few places in Melbourne that offer fast, cheap and delicious meals. Takeaway options are also available but either way, a perfect solution when the day’s been way too long and you just CBF to cook something.
Ahhhh this certainly brings back memories of being a student again. Rose Garden is situated on QVM-side of Elizabeth Street, surrounded by several other eateries. The good thing about this area is that each little bistro offers a different cuisine, so there isn’t terribly much competition, it just depends on what you’re the mood for at that time. There’s Menya for Japanese, Thai Culinary for Thai, Coconut House for Malaysian and my favourite, Rose Garden for Chinese-Malaysian-Hong Kong styled food.
I have to admit that I have yet to make much progress with the menu as I ALWAYS eat the same thing when I return. The fried rice with slivers of roast duck is packed with umami goodness and the combination of salty preserved vegetables with sweet peas and delicious duck always makes me salivate. The other dishes (which I finally tried) are the deep-fried chicken ribs, spicy green beans with mince and stewed pork with lotus root. All are fantastically delicious, but in my honest opinion, the fried rice should rank number 1 in their “Top 10 favourites” menu.
Situated not too far from the cluster of the above mentioned eateries on Elizabeth Street is a hidden Korean gem, Darac. The bibimbap here is one of the best I’ve come across in Melbourne and is the dish I always order when I visit (this is beginning to sound familiar). There is good balance in ingredients and the hot stone bowl never fails to provide a crunch to the rice.
One of the frequently ordered dishes here is the spicy sausage stew, which comes served on a portable stove. Balanced delicately on the flames is a large platter with a mixture of noodles, vegetables, cheese and sausage. Hot soup or water is then poured over and everything gets mixed into a pale orange mess. Believe it or not, it is quite a ubiquitous dish. I have to give this a go next time.
Shanghai Street dishes out its namesake and other options such as rice and noodles are available. The dumplings are of better quality than the ones around Chinatown, with the skins not too starchy and the filling not too sweet.
I really liked the fried mini buns: the bread was soft and slightly sweet and had a crisp bottom from being panfried. The filling was juicy and delicious.
The Angmoh enjoyed his rice dish of Gongbao Chicken. It is different from that served in Sichuan restaurants as it comes with gravy, allowing the rice to soak up the tasty flavours.
Fakebooo and I have also tried the Xiao Long Bao and dumplings in chilli oil. You can read about what we thought of it here.
Little Ramen Bar
346 Little Bourke Street
+61 3 9670 5558
Just 2 shops down from Shanghai Street Dumplings is this small little newbie, with a big reputation. It is so popular despite its infancy, I’ve heard dishes have been sold out halfway through opening hours! The seating is limited and a queue forms rather quickly.
I had the Charshu Tamago Ramen, which offers slightly more charshu than the regular Classic ramen, and also comes with a soft boiled egg. I picked miso for the soup, which might have been a wrongdoing on my part. The miso was overpowering and overwhelmed the Tonkatsu broth. I might go for the shio (salt) version in future. The charshu is thickly sliced and has a good amount of fat and the soft boiled egg had a perfectly gooey yolk. The noodles were al dente in ramen standards and I would describe them to have “Q”, which is the Taiwanese way of describing noodles that have bite and bounce. While I personally prefer the charshu at Ramen-ya, Little Ramen Bar does dish up pretty good ramen.