Monday, October 31, 2011

Chan House, Melbourne CBD by Big Fil

After our recent visit to Enlightened Chinese Cuisine I am no longer such a foe of faux pork, nor willing to mock, mock beef. In fact I was quite looking forward to our visit to Chan House, a vegetarian Chinese option located in a very obscure food arcade off Little Collins Street.

If anything I was probably looking forward to it too much, expecting to compare a cheap bain-marie style stall to a mid-level price restaurant. It's certainly not at the same standard as ECC in either taste or texture, but expecting to be able to make that comparison was undoubtedly unfair. The biggest let down to me though was not the quality of the food but the limited choice. While there are a number of different options prepared by the kitchen they are rotated on a daily basis, so that rather than choice of a dozen dishes there were only four to choose between.

When we visited there were two mock meat - Mongolian beef and sweet and sour pork - and two more vegetarian style dishes - mixed vegetables as well as vegetables in a curry sauce. Of the mock meats I preferred the beef, which looked like beef and tasted like something resembling beef, although the texture wasn't right. The pork though had some problems, in fact Bureaucrat initially had difficulty trying to work out what was the pork in her dish so that Snooze and I could try it.

The curry vegetables came in a coconut based sauce and suffered from one of the typical curses of bain-marie food, how do you keep the vegetables nice and crispy fresh when they are sitting in the dish keeping warm? The result was that they were not as firm as I would have liked, and I didn't find the flavours terribly interesting. The vegetable dish was more beanshoots than anything else.

Snooze also ordered a curry puff, which was probably the best flavoured thing we tried. The pastry was a bit soft and oily, but we all agreed that the flavour of the filling was good. The dish which looked much better than the others though was the vegetarian curry laksa, which unfortunately we appeared to be the only ones not ordering.

Despite all the negatives Chan House did have three things going for it. First of all, it’s hard to give noticeably good service when standing behind a bain-marie, but smiling and making helpful comments when we were trying to sort out what was and what wasn’t available helps. Secondly it’s cheap, choice of two mains with rice for $6.50 cheap. And thirdly, the feeling of moral superiority you gain from knowing that no animals were harmed in the making of your meal.

Food – 6
Ambience – 5.5
Service – 7
Price – 8

Shop 10, 422 Little Collins Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
Tel: 0402 798 748

Chan House - Healthy Vegetarian Option on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Tough review for a $6.50 foodcourt meal!
I visit ChanHouse quite often. For the price and convenience its hard to beat.
They also have a seperate menu to chose from with more variety if you have a few minutes for them to cook fresh which I think you'd find compares quite well with Enlightened Cuisine on both price and taste :)

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