Sunday, September 30, 2012

Hills BBQ Noodle Shop, Box Hill by Big Fil

It's sometimes a bit of a cliché, that such and such a place brings a touch of 'X' (Italy, Greece, Thailand...) to Melbourne.  Usually I think it's an exaggeration but for Hills BBQ Noodle Shop it really did remind me of a neighbourhood cafe in Kowloon, somewhere at the base of a big apartment building frequented by locals looking for a late night roast meat feast.

There are several reasons why this is so.  First of all the typical roast meets hanging in the window.  It can't be a Hong Kong diner without ducks, soya chickens and crispy pork hanging in the window. Secondly the interior of the place, with its chequerboard floor, plasma screen TV playing Chinese soap operas located directly above my head and the booths around the side of the restaurant.  It's a busy place and full of life, and in a major compliment for somewhere as blessed with cheap eateries as Box Hill at 6.30 on a cold night people were willing to line up in the doorway waiting for a table to become available.

Hills BBQ Noodle Shop, Box Hill, roast duck, BBQ pork
While I'd never been before apparently it's Mr and Mrs Mmm's favourite place for takeaway.  We all carefully perused the menu but it was pretty much always a given that Mr Cha Siu and Mrs Siu Yuk would be paying our tables a visit along with a serving of roast duck.

I was a little surprised when they all arrived heaped on the same plate.  As far as roast meats go around town I'd probably put these in the above average category.  The duck was nicely tender but a bit too greasy, the cha siu had good meaty pork flavours but was more purple in colour than the typical red, and I thought it was marginally dry.  Siu yuk is generally my favourite Cantonese roast meat but again I liked it without being blown away, the skin crispy and a good balance of meat and fat but without the melt in the mouth tenderness of the best versions.

Hills BBQ Noodle Shop, Box Hill, tofu claypot
After a long argument about whether I liked tofu (aiyah, yes Mmm I do like tofu.  Yes, I am sure...) we also ordered the pork belly and tofu claypot, which actually comes served in a metal pot (go figure).  Slightly sweet with soft in the middle tofu, I didn't think this was quite as good as the roast meats with some of the pork surprisingly slightly chewy for belly pork.

Hills BBQ Noodle Shop, Box Hill

Hills BBQ Noodle Shop, Box Hill

Hills BBQ Noodle Shop, Box Hill

So, with food a bit above average and service which left a bit to be desired, would I return? In a heartbeat. The place just felt vibrant and alive in a way I really liked.  I wouldn't go there for fine dining or exquisite service, I would go there for the theatre of it all. There's no real rhyme or reason to it, but it definitely has that X factor for me.

Food - 7
Ambiance - 8
Service - 5.5
Price - 7

586 Station Street
Box Hill VIC 3128
Tel: (03) 9899 3382
Hills BBQ Noodle Shop on Urbanspoon


Anonymous said...

It even smells like HK as you walk past.

EatAndBeMerryCrew said...

Lol.. it's part of the authenticity of the place!

Anonymous said...

Its the msg/soup smell - I love it

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