Sunday, July 1, 2012

EC Pot, Melbourne CBD by Big Fil

It’s always hard to find decent food court eating options. They are out there, but it rarely feels worthwhile spending the dollars or calories on trying to find them. EC Pot had always looks a cut above the rest of the QV food court eateries though and was always full. When work pressures mean that you’ve a limited amount of time you can get pushed into places you wouldn’t normally try. It doesn’t always work out, but on this occasion it did.

EC Pot doesn’t really feel like a foot court eatery. Sure it has a few tables out the front near where people are walking but if you push past these it feels like a reasonable if overcrowded cafĂ©. They have certainly spent some time and effort on making it just that little bit nicer which is appreciated. It comes with table service as well, and as an added bonus polite, efficient and cute staff.

As well as the normal menu items it has a limited range of lunchtime specials which included my beef brisket with noodles, which also included a cold Hong Kong style coffee. With generic noodles but nicely cooked and springy, generous in size with star anise flavours and pretty decent value at around $10, the only real issue was that the beef was a little dry. I think this could have been because it was surprisingly lean – beef brisket is generally a slightly fatty cut of meat and those pieces with a little bit of fat on them were noticeably more tender.

Snooze went for the Hainanese chicken rice option from the main menu. She mentioned that she hasn’t really been impressed by the chicken rice she had had before but that this was the best she’d had in Melbourne. I would have agreed with that, with nicely silky chicken, a couple of nice sauces on the side and chicken rice that had good chicken flavours. It took a while to come out but we had been warned in advance that if we just wanted steamed rice it would come out quickly but the chicken rice would take twenty minutes. Even given we were in a bit of a hurry it’s well worth waiting though. Very generous in size the only thing it was missing was the bowl of chicken broth on the side.

(PS This review is with a difference--I managed to delete the photos for EC Pot and took Miss C, my youngest daughter, with me for the same meal. Visting again wasn't at all bad, in fact it wasn't bad at all. EC Pot is worth visiting more than once, and with Miss C visiting Singapore over the Christmas break it was a nice opportunity to introduce her to Hainanese chicken rice. Alas, Miss C isn't a fan of ginger and didn't enjoy the rice; my favourite bit. This time around I had Big Fil's beef brisket with noodles. My version wasn't dry; it was moist and falling apart tender.

An advantage of returning, and of Miss C being interested in dumplings, is that we had the Chinese steamed pork dumplings. They turned out to be xiao long bao, which I wasn't expecting. The skin wasn't quite as delicate as I've had it on other occasions, but the filling was moist and tasty. Overall, a reasonable attempt if a little more expensive than it should have been.)

For food court fare EC Pot is a bit of a gem, marginally pricier than most of the student diners around town but as generous in serving size and better in quality. While we only sampled a couple of dishes the menu is fairly long and everything which we saw come out looked good. I wouldn’t suggest it as somewhere for that big first date but if you work in the city and are looking for somewhere to eat you could certainly do far worse.

Food – 7.5
Service – 7
Ambience – 6.5
Price – 7.5

200 Lonsdale Street (QV Food Court)
Melbourne Vic 3000
Tel (03) 9963 8319

E.C.Pot on Urbanspoon

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