Sunday, September 25, 2011

Nam Loong, Melbourne CBD by Big Fil

Very much an old timer of the Chinatown food scene, Nam Loong is best known for its freshly steamed buns. These even get a mention in my 1992-93 Cheap Eats Guide. Custard, sausage, combination, I must have eaten hundreds of them from here over the years. But my favourite is definitely the pork, to the extent that the greeting I usually receive on entering isn't hello or ni hao but 'two pork buns, takeaway?'

First thing you notice after walking through the door is the huge steaming baskets over the bun filled glass counter. These are quite impressive but can make it a bit of a squeeze trying to get past people waiting for takeaway or to pay. Actually being a bit squeezy is often a problem here. It's popular but small, with the result that on our visit Snooze and myself ended up having to share a four person table with someone else. The major advantage of this though is that next time I want what he was having, one of the best looking bbq pork omelettes I've seen.

Snooze isn't so much the fan of cha siu bao but it's almost impossible to come here and not order them. While I wouldn't necessarily agree that the best pork bun I've had in Melbourne was from here, I'd say this place does very good ones more consistently than anywhere else I've tried around town. I think this is a combination of several things: good fluffy pastry, fresher bbq pork and a high turnover meaning that you get the buns at near their best.

But Fil does not live by bao alone. The menu is fairly extensive and it took several minutes to come to a decision on what we wanted to try. First main to arrive was our braised beef with vegetables. With tender beef, crispy broccoli and extremely slippery mushrooms, we both thought this was pretty good. For that slightly more authentic touch it also included a few very strongly flavoured slivers of ginger, adding punch to the dish.

Even better though was the crispy pork with whipped eggs on rice. Texture wise I thought the combination of pork, egg and rice could have been heavy but it was surprisingly light, the whipped eggs acting like a delicious sauce and the siu yuk fresh and crispy (although a little less of it than I might have liked). In a bit of a test Snooze - who is generally a fan of lighter textures and subtly flavoured dishes - also gave it the thumbs up.

While there was nothing especially complicated about our meal it was all very nicely prepared and flavoured, one of the better meals I've had here. While hardly a la carte with its casual vibe Nam Loong serves the sort of food I could eat several times a week and many of the other diners looked like regulars. For those who appear not to have had a good experience here the major source of complaint seems to relate to its charging policies - buns are slightly more expensive to eat in than takeaway and they do impose a surcharge if you don't order mains or your bill is under a certain amount.

Food - 8
Service - 6.5
Ambience - 6
Price - 7.5

223 Russell St
Melbourne VIC 3000
Tel: (03) 9663 4089

Nam Loong Chinese Restaurant on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

Mr. J. of 8ites said...

I've been here a couple of times for lunch, lots of choices, quick and tasty!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...