Tag Archives: Banana Roti

Madame K’s Vegetarian

Sometimes spontaneity provides you with more memorable experiences, especially when out to dine. After an unfulfilling meal at Henry and the Fox (a post on this will be coming in the future), we ventured to Brunswick St for a second round.

Our initial plan was to drop by the popular vegan and organic restaurant Yong Green Food, but this plan was thwarted after their voicemail said they were closed for a break.

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Next idea was Vegie Bar, but this place is crazy-busy on weekends. But Melbourne is full of eateries and we were bound to find something else on Brunswick St – and my friend then spotted Madame K’s Vegetarian.

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It was smaller than Vegie Bar but still full of diners, and we were lucky to get a table for three.

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It was a bit cramped and the staff kept squeezing between me and another table, but I was just glad we managed to score a table on a Friday night.

We started off with some chive dumplings ($6.90, below – sorry for blurry photo). They were panfried and surprisingly full of flavour – I honestly didn’t realise these crispy vegetarian dumplings could be so tasty! I think the dipping sauce also had an attractive, strong flavour – similar to soy but a lot more compelling.

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I wasn’t entirely hungry after Henry and the Fox (how rare), thus I went for an entree of lamb sliders. I assume it was “mushroom made lamb”, as described in all their other lamb dishes on the menu. They won my curiosity as the description did not mention the common brioche buns but instead, naan bread. They were quite different but I don’t think it worked as a wrap for me.
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The doughy and thick nature of the bread means I would much prefer dipping it in some nice curry. The other ingredients reminded me of the minty flavours you would get in a Vietnamese dish. Unfortunately, I probably would have preferred these ingredients in a normal bun, as the bread is a tad chewy to bite off whilst trying to enjoy a wrap.

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My friends on the other hand, were still ready and gearing for another full dinner. They both ordered rice dishes, which were quite similar in taste.

One was a mushroom dish (above, $16.90), with various mushrooms, eggplant and Thai basil served with Jasmine rice. You have the option to choose Jasmine or brown rice. The dark sauce resembles oyster sauce, but I felt like the flavour was more interesting and intense than your average oyster sauce.

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This sauce was similar to what was used with the tofu and cashew dish (above, $16.90). And this was a good thing because we all enjoyed this flavour a lot. I think perhaps the sauce’s aroma and flavour was enhanced by the Thai influences, rather than your typical Westernised Chinese takeaway.

Whilst we enjoyed our meals, I noticed a constant stream of takeaway customers coming in and out of the restaurant. Service was quite quick – the only issue was they didn’t realise my entree was actually my meal, so they were waiting for me to finish before serving my friends’ mains. This was quickly sorted though.

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Finally, we couldn’t say no to dessert as we were enjoying a good chat and thought the banana roti ($10.90) sounded too good to pass on. I was still dreaming of Chin Chin’s amazing banana roti, but this was different and delicious in its own way. It was a bit like a crepe but with a thicker base of roti, with not only banana, but also strawberries, soy ice-cream, their homemade sauce and a bonus kiwi fruit.

Thus, I’m not ashamed to say – we ordered another one of these! I’d happily go back but I’m aiming to try Yong Green Food first. If you decide to go here, I’d suggest booking or going on a slightly quieter night during the middle of the week to get a better table.

Madame K’s Vegetarian is open for lunch Sat-Sun from 12-3.30pm and dinner every night from 5-10pm. Check out their menu here.

Madame K's Vegetarian on Urbanspoon

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Modern Asian Restaurants: Chin Chin

Chin Chin

In the early days, I was rejected from this place numerous times and due to the ridiculous wait times, I never ended up hanging around. But finally, on a late Sunday lunch in 2012, I managed to avoid rejection.

Now, I am an avid fan of this popular restaurant, and I have visited four or five times without needing to wait. I will let you in on that secret later. Due to my many visits, I realise I have quite a lot of dishes to talk about, so here it goes!

The number one dish we keep going back to Chin Chin for is the twice cooked Victorian beef short ribs with coriander and prik nam pla (Thai sauce) (below, far right, $29). The beef is so delicate, it literally falls off the bone. The sauce on the side adds a bit of a sweet, lime taste if you’re after it, but if not, the sauce that it already lies in and coriander are already rich enough to satisfy the tastebuds.

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My first time there, I also fell in love with the barramundi and caramelised pork belly green apple salad (top left, $27). On my most recent trip, we found the pork a bit dry, perhaps indicating that rumours I’ve heard of the restaurant’s quality deteriorating might just be true.

After several visits, I kept checking Urbanspoon to see what other dishes were popular. The son-in-law eggs with chill jam (above, bottom left, $8), kept popping up so we gave that a go. The flavours, as usual, were rich and interesting and the outsides of the eggs had a nice texture, almost like a subtly crispy skin. I wouldn’t mind ordering it again as a side to help fill me up a bit more for $8, but not a must-have dish.

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Pictured above, is the barbecue pork satay ($23). I keep forgetting it’s a main on the menu from this picture, as this was treated as an entree even from the way they served our food (they served this first). As good as it was (I could find no fault), I don’t think it’s special enough to differentiate from other satay skewers for half the price at most Asian restaurants.

My friend also enjoys the Massaman curry ($29), however one time we ordered the green curry ($25), and discovered that their curries can be a bit salty. Other satisfying dishes I’ve tried include the DIY pork rolls-ups ($19), kind of like peking duck but with braised suckling pig.

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Another friend was quite a fan of the wagyu salad or Crying Tiger (above, $29). I did like it, but sadly I couldn’t enjoy it as much as her, being the weak person when it comes to chilli! The other dish pictured is just some fried rice ($18), I don’t feel it’s anything special to talk about and I say stick to steamed rice.

What I crave from Chin Chin besides the beef, is the grilled banana roti with condensed milk (below, $12)! The pastry-like roti oozes with warm banana, and combined with the sweet condensed milk, it makes an excellent way to end a good meal at Chin Chin. I’m not sure why the palm sugar ice cream sundae (below, $14) seems more popular – I found it hard to eat a lot of it due to too many strong flavours, as if the abundance of salted honeycomb, palm sugar icecream and lime syrup were all competing to win.

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Now on how to get in? Well firstly, dinner will always be hard. If you are really keen, it’s probably better to go early dinner around 5 or so, and not on a weekend night. It’s a good idea to give the restaurant a call, because even if you can’t book (they only book for 10+), you can at least ask how long the wait is or if there are any free tables before heading there.

Lunch is often not that hard due to most people being at work, or you can go at an off-peak time between lunch and dinner around 2-3pm and it won’t be so hard!

I was meant to to write about other restaurants, then I realised I’ve visited Chin Chin enough to constitute one post. Look out for Part 2!

Chin Chin is located at 125 Flinders Lane, Melbourne and is open 11am until late. They have also opened GoGo Bar underneath, where you can have some drinks whilst waiting for your table or enjoy some bar food/entrees from the Chin Chin menu.

Chin Chin on Urbanspoon