Thursday, May 16, 2013

Roll'd, Melbourne CBD by Bureaucrat

One of the foodie places that I keep hearing around the traps (among office workers on the hunt for lunch) is Roll'd.

It's popular, so expect to line up...

I didn't know much about it, except that it does Vietnamese rice paper rolls.  I also knew it was located near work, but I didn't really know where.

So when an unexpected lunch date presented itself, I wandered down to QV and found Beaker and Bubba Chuck waiting for me.  Beaker had been to Roll'd before and suggested that we go order our food before the lunch crowd.  This proved to be wise, as from about 12.15pm onwards, there was a near constant queue of hungry workers lining up for their banh mi, rolled paper rolls and other goodies.

Roll'd Soldiers - from left to right: lemongrass pork and prawn; tofu, pickled carrots and sesame seeds; bbq chicken and sesame seeds. Sauces: chilli mayo and hoisin.

We got a few of the Roll'd Soldiers.  These are bigger than your typical rice paper rolls that you'd get in a restaurant.  But as they're bigger, they're a bit more pricey.  They range from $2.60 to $3.40 each, and you get tub of sauce with each roll.  I get a feeling they're trying to compete with the sushi traders - they're similar in size and price. Inside, there's a reasonable amount of meat, mint and coriander.

I got the "The B" salad w lemongrass beef.  This is cooked to order, and took a while longer than I had expected (to the point where I wondered whether they had forgotten my order).  The beef is lemongrassy and has a slight smokeyness from it being grilled, which is better than I thought it would be.  As with the soldiers, there's good amounts of vermicelli, veg and mint. The first I got this, there was an appropriate amount of nuoc cham.  However, the second time I ordered this, the salad was swimming in nuoc cham.  The salad was a pretty good sized serve.

Food - 7
Ambience - 6
Service - 6
Price - 8

While the food is reasonable it's uniformity makes it feel a bit clinical and formulaic... it lacks the heart that you'd get from a genuine cheap-eats Viet restaurant that you'd find in, say, Richmond or Footiescray.  But the upside of uniformity is that you know you'll get exactly the same food, the exactly the same quality each time.

For me, if I had a hankering for Vietnamese food, I wouldn't think of going to Roll'd.  Having said that, I would go there again (and I have) as it has a lot of pluses - it offers fresh, healthy, gluten free lunch for under a tenner (which is quite rare option for those having to buy lunch for work).

My suggestion is that you get there early to avoid the queues (and avoid having to wait in a crowded space while your meal is getting prepared), and to get the food as takeaway (unless you like sitting in a crowded, noisy food court).

Have a gander at Big Fil's review of Roll'd on Williams Street.

Roll'd at QV
Russell St
Melbourne 3000
Telephone: 9654 1143

Roll'd QV on Urbanspoon

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