Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Madame Squint, Melbourne CBD by Big Fil

It’s kind of surprising that Madame Squint isn’t better known than it is.  It’s located near Equitable Place, one of the better foodie laneways in town, and offers some interesting variations on rice burgers and gao bao.  While not that large I’ve never had any trouble getting a seat, and combined with the friendly service it’s one of my favourite places for a quick lunch, somewhere I seem to end up at least 2 or 3 times a month.

On this occasion I was joined by Snooze, enabling us to try a larger range of offerings than I normally get to do on solo visits.  This didn’t include any of the noodle dishes.  I’ve never tried these but overheard comments from other tables always seem positive.  This day though it was the chicken katsu rice burger, and the pulled beef, soft shell crab and pork gua bao.

First up was the katsu burger.  Sandwiched between two patties made of lightly compressed rice, the chicken has the texture and taste of a good quality chicken schnitzel.  Snooze did seem to make a bit of a mess of it though, her burger disintegrating in her hands as she tried to tried to eat it.  I hadn’t seen that happen before so it may have just been a once off as usually it all holds together pretty well.

Her other choice was the pulled beef gua bao.  I wasn’t sure about this one and it did turn out a bit mediocre.  The beef was certainly pull apart tender but lacking the bbq flavours that rightly or wrongly I associate with pulled meats.

The soft shell crab and the pork gua bao are my two personal favourites.  Can’t say for certain that there aren’t others but it’s the only place I’ve seen soft shell crab gua bao.  Served with a spicy mayonnaise the soft shell bao are quite large but not too heavy, the crab nice and crunchy but sometimes lacking a little meat. 

The pork bao is also larger than most bao around town, the pork tender and a little fatty but tasty.  In terms of ordering one or both I am always a little in two minds, but if you are not a big eater I’d suggest get one or the other, not both.

While it looks pretty generic from the outside the options available here are a bit different to other places around town.  Service is friendly and fairly quick, and while the bao are a big more expensive than usual that reflects that one would be a suitable lunch for many people.  Definitely worth a look if you’ve not been before.

Food – 7.5
Ambience – 6.5
Service – 7.5
Price – 7.5

Shop 2, 353 Lt Collins Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
Tel: (03) 9600 0150

Madame Squint on Urbanspoon

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