Tag Archives : CBD


North East China Family, Flinders Lane, CBD { Melbourne Review } 3

Boiled dumpling at North East China Family on Flinders Lane

Back in 2008 (dear god, has it been that long?), I discovered North East China Family – a double storey, modern dumpling restaurant on Flinders Lane between Liz and Queen. I went there on my own and had a fried rice and, by god, it was one of the best fried rice at a Chinese restaurant I had ever had. So I went back with Josh and others in tow for the dumplings numerous times since the initial visit.

seafood fried rice at North East China Family

(Seafood fried rice – $11?)

The dumplings themselves, vegetarian dumplings aside, were quite good. We have tried a few and settled the pork and pickled cabbage dumplings as our favourite. The skin wasn’t too thick or doughy and the fillings were well seasoned and balanced. The vegetarian ones, unfortunately, didn’t rate well. I found the filling of greens and a few other random bits of carrot were a bit one dimensional and, well, wasn’t any good.

Pork and pickled cabbage dumplings at North East China Family

(Boiled pork and pickled cabbage dumplings 15 for $8?)

The portions, on the other hand, used to be rather large and generous (15 for around $8? at the time) and if you consumed the whole plate of them,  you would have to roll yourself back to your office. I noticed the reduction in size over the past few years, however. Since then the dumplings had become a bit smaller and North East China Family had been less generous with the filling. I can’t say I blame the restaurant since most people seemed incapable of finishing a whole plate of dumplings. Another point to note is that the restaurant charges extra ($1?) for the pan-fried version of the same dumplings. As we very much prefer boiled dumplings over fried, we have not tried the fried variety. (more…)


Sichuan Dining Room, Mid City Arcade, Bourke St., CBD { Melbourne Lunch Review } 2

Chicken kung bao at Sichuan Dining Room

Soldiering on with my CBD lunch series for your Melbourne CBD lunch needs (wow I make it sound like a public service, don’t I?) Sichuan Dining Room is more of a casual eatery tucked away in Mid City Arcade, one of the many arcades on Burke St./Little Burke St, the home of Melbourne Chinatown. Just like other eateries around the area well known for its plethora of cheap, tasty Chinese/Asian selection.

mapo tofu on rice at Sichuan Dining Room in CBD

(Mapo tofu on rice)

Sichuan Dining Room, unfortunately not the same as the now-defunct Sichuan Dining Room which I loved in Hawthorn, has a rather large menu consisting of your usual ‘something-anything on rice’ for under $10 up to Sichuan-style hotpots and ‘various parts of a pig/chicken/duck fried in a tonne of dried chillies’ costing up to $30+ for family dinner where sharing is required.

chicken kungpao on rice

(Chicken kungbao on rice)

I have had both options. Let’s talk about the cheap lunch options first. We ordered three dishes with rice to try. The ‘on rice’ option, while cheap was rather limited to the more mainstream Australian Chinese dishes. Our mapo tofu (tofu and mince in spicy, chilli oil sauce) was more spicy than the mapo tofu you would get at a Cantonese restaurant but it wasn’t outstanding. It was pleasant enough for a lunch time rush though. They also serve the ‘on noodles’ options and it is my failing that I never gave them a go. Please let me know if you have and what you think about it. (more…)


Jolly J’s Restaurant, Port Phillip Arcade, CBD { Melbourne Food Review } 2

Jolly J's Sri Lankan rice and curry

To continue the Port Phillip Arcade theme, I bring you Jolly J’s. As mentioned in the previous post, Port Phillip Arcade is a Mecca of cheap eats in Melbourne CBD. Some good. Some terrible. But noone seems to agree on what is what. So I can only do my bit and let you know what I like.

Jolly J's in Port Phillip Arcade's menu

Jolly J’s is a little bit of a jack of all trades when it comes to your cheap CBD lunching needs. The menu consists of various hot food items (such as chicken parma, calamari rings and garlic prawns) and hot chips. But of course, the main draw card for Jolly J’s is their Sri Lankan style rice and curry.

Jolly J's Sri Lankan rice and curry

(Jolly J’s daily specials of Sri Lankan style rice and curry – $7.50)

I, of course, went directly to the Jolly J’s Daily Special – Rice & Curry. How can you argue against a good, wholesome interesting Sri Lankan lunch for $7.50? Did I mention it’s super cheap?

As any other Sri Lankan rice and curry shop in Melbourne, you get a choice between white rice or yellow rice, a choice of vegetable curries (eggplant, pumpkin, lentils, mixed vegetables, etc.) and a choice of meat curry (beef, lamb, chicken). You will also get yoghurt condiment (sometimes called ‘curd’ at Sri Lankan restaurants), coconut sambal and chilli. A poppadum is also served on top. (more…)


Ratee Thai, Port Phillip Arcade, CBD { Melbourne Food Review } 3

Stir-fried vegetables with basil and chilli (pad gaprow pak)

(Stir-fried vegetables of choice with chilli and basil sauce – pad gaprow – and fried egg – $11?)

Believe me when I say this: you don’t truly appreciate the cliche ‘time flies’ until you become a full time carer of a newborn baby almost-toddler. So when I had every intention to blog about a few places that I (used to) lunch at as a salarywoman in the City, I hadn’t realise how much time had passed since then. So here I am – 9 months into my 12-month maternity leave. I think I might just get to it before I go back to work in December and then find out that all of these places are either gone or no longer the same!

Ratee Thai, Port Phillip Arcade, Flinders Street

(The green circles spell out ‘Ratee Thai’ from the alphabet/vowels panel – very cute)

Ratee Thai is one of the many eating outlets that make up the Mecca of cheap eats that is known Port Phillip Arcade which is situated on Flinders Street just near the Swanston Street corner (you can also enter from Flinders Lane). Their clientele is a mix bag of office workers and Thai uni students – always a good sign for a Thai restaurant. Its fit-out consists of charming communal tables with its wall adorned with the Thai alphabets (in case you’ve wonder what it’s all about!)

Port Phillip Arcade also happened to be the mid point between my (former) work place and Josh’s. So we used to end up there a lot for lunch. Yes, folks, I was one of those people who have lunch with their partners almost everyday. You can decide whether it’s sweet or sad.

Pad si-ew (stir fried rice noodles with soy sauce)

(Pad Si-ew  – stir fried rice noodles with chicken, egg and Chinese broccoli with sweet soy sauce – $10?)

Ratee Thai has a varied menu. You can go with the Wok Bar option – choosing your own meat, vegetables, sauce and noodle/rice; you can choose from the Classic option – a choice of the popular Thai dishes such as pad thai, pad gaprow, pad si-ew, tom yum, etc.; or you can simply grab a plate of bain marie choices. (more…)

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