Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Taiwan Cafe, Melbourne CBD by Big Fil

Taiwan Café hasn't been open that long but often has queues out the door of people waiting to get in. It's the first Taiwanese style café in the city, one of handful scattered around Melbourne. Giving the crowds a chance to thin out over the passing weeks we finally got around to paying our first visit, finding a passable place to eat but not one that justified the long wait at prime times.

Beef wrap

The food is decent but not great. It's a mixture of main and smaller sharing style dishes, all of generous size so that if you're not that hungry it's probably best to go easy on the ordering.

The thing I liked most about here was also weirdly the thing I liked least, the feel and ambience. I loved the red lanterns, the decorations on the walls, the background music and the general buzz to the place. But the tables were way too close together, so that we had to push ours out into the walking area so that Snooze and I could sit down.

Snooze and Bureaucrat both headed for noodle dishes, the beef noodles and the mince pork. I thought both were okay but nothing special, with the best bit the slightly springy/chewy noodles in the pork noodles (I didn't try those with the beef). The pork noodles always make me think of spaghetti bolognaise made into a soup, it's that sort of comfort food.

The beef in Snooze's noodles was nicely cooked and the slices large, but I wasn't as impressed by the flavour of the broth as Snooze. For me it was more a case of quantity over quality.

I could also make the same comment about my pork chop box. Again it looked huge when it hit the table but flavour wise just a bit mediocre.

Better I thought were the two smaller dishes, the popcorn chicken and the beef wrap. The popcorn chicken comprises small boneless pieces of chicken, battered with five spice powder (we thought). Good muncheable sort of food, the sort of food that moves from plate to mouth without much thought when indulging in enjoyable company. A bit of a heavier hand with the spices could have given it a bit more zing though. 

And the beef wrap (see first pic), it's like good quality roast beef wrapped inside a Malaysian style roti. It's not exactly light or I suspect the healthiest option on the menu, but I really love it. For me, much better than your average suburban kebab, and comes without the lingering doubt about possible food poisoning.

And before I forget, while the do offer milk tea I found mine really bland and lacking in flavour.

I hope they really get their act together, because the city needs some good Taiwanese hawker style food. Some others have complained about the service here - I can't say it was great but I've had worse. Major issues, when we asked for napkins or tissues bringing two for the three of us, and the first main arriving at least ten minutes before the last.

Food - 7
Ambience - 7
Service - 6
Price - 7.5

273 Swanston Street
Melbourne Vic 3000
Tel: (03) 9663 6663


RMIT Newintstudents said...

i agree. I finally had the chance to go there today and some of your comments were truthful in the least.

ang8094 said...

Looking through the menu, I found one third to half the dishes I've never even seen or heard of growing up in Taiwan. Because of the long que, me and my friends had to wait 45mins outside and so after the long wait, me and my friends thought we'd order more than a few dishes to make up for it.
Ordering only all the ones I see on the menu that are 'actually Taiwanese'. I thought the food was less than average. Everything was like a teaser of what it would actually taste like while the materials were poor. Would not recommend that place to my friends. On the other hand, Ignorant Australians might really enjoy it though ^_^

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