Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Roll'd, Melbourne CBD by Big Fil

Roll’d is a small Vietnamese café located in the heart of Melbourne corporate country that also dispenses a range of coffee and other related goods on the side. For somewhere so new it’s already built up quite a following amongst the local suits. Even getting there by 12.15 meant a bit of a wait for both ordering and receiving food. Despite it being so popular I don’t think Ruby Grapefruit or I were real fans though, largely because of the lack of seating inside (it’s too far away for takeaway for us), the wind tunnel effect of dining in the food court area and the food being a bit mediocre.

Where it does do well is offering a fair variety of interesting options for the size of the café, and the obvious freshness as you get to watch the staff making your food in front of you. I also thought the staff themselves were very good – there is a limit to the interaction you are going to have in this sort of setup but I thought they were friendly, polite and efficient.

The way it works is that you chose and pay for your dishes, collect your docket and wait for your name and/or docket number to be called. This is a bit of an issue. With the counter on one side and a small number of tables against the opposite wall, everyone congregates to the middle of the shop. Being packed in and standing around waiting for your food is something that’s probably unavoidable but isn’t the most comfortable of experiences, and I can imagine it’s not good for the few people eating inside either. There they are slurping away on the pho, and every time they turn around they are faced with a wall of people’s back sides.

Anyway after a wait of ten or so minutes we were called up and collected a couple of bowls of pho (Vietnamese noodle soup) and a bahn mi (filled Vietnamese baguette roll). Normally we would only have gone for one or the other but from what we could see they appeared noticeably smaller than similar dishes out in the suburbs or even in other parts of town. Ms Grapefruit went for the beef pho, my choice was the chicken and the roll was the crispy pork.

The one good thing which both of the pho had in common was that the meat was nicely cooked. I normally prefer it a little pink so that when it continues to cook in the steaming broth it doesn’t become over cooked and chewy. While the meat here was cooked more than that, the broth not being particularly hot (a corresponding negative) meant that it didn’t continue to cook further.

On the negative side though, other than the broth being luke warm it also lacked any real depth of flavour, the noodles were pretty lack lustre and there was no real aroma to the dish. In particular it seemed to be missing any real flavours from the herbs used the soup.

I thought the Bahn Mi was better but still not great. The baguette was a little small, the vegetables looked fresh but didn’t have much crunch and the pork was ok but not anything special. The flavours were quite good and compared to the average sandwich around town pretty good value but it doesn’t really compare to some of the suburban bahn mi offerings.

Service good in the circumstances, price fine, food mediocre and setting bad. Not much more to say really.

Food – 6
Service – 7.5
Ambience – 4
Price – 7

Shop TG10, Goldsborough Lane
181 William Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
Tel: (03) 9600 1088

Roll'd on Urbanspoon

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