Last week, I tried two new places on my lunchbreaks. Because I only had a small meal at each, I couldn't really justify an entire blog post for each meal so I have decided to combine them and give a quick overview of each one.
Roll'd - Hardware Lane
I caught up with one of my ex-PwC friends last week. She is currently looking/considering a new job and wanted to ask some advice as I made the jump just over a new ago. She suggested Roll'd and I had not actually heard of it. After a quick look on Urbanspoon, the place to me looked good so I agreed it would be a good place to catch up.
Roll's is a Vietnamese influenced franchise (there is a fourth store to open in the CBD soon) which you do pay CBD prices for. I apparently live about five minutes from one of Melbourne's best Banh Mi (available in St Albans or Sunshine) and yet I have never had one! I know they usually cost about $3-$4 so when I saw that this one was $7.90, I was slightly shocked. Hardware Lane/CBD for you.
When I arrived at 12pm, the place was almost already full. It is certainly a busy place and we were lucky to get one of the last tables. The wait time (from ordering) was less than 10 minutes which I thought was fine given the amount of people grabbing take-away or eating there.
Roast Pork with Crackling Mr Bun Mee (Banh Mi) - $7.90
The Banh Mi was full of salad such as pickled carrot, cucumber & Spring Onions. There is apparently coriander in there as well and given I hate the stuff, I was dreading it. However, I barely tasted it. Or maybe I actually like the taste. Anyway. Although the Banh Mi was stuffed full of salad, the meat portion was very minimal. I am not sure if this how if should traditionally be, but I would have liked to have some more pork in there. There is an option to get 'double meat' for another $2.50 but to me, if you are already spending $8, it should have an appropriate amount of meat in there.
I enjoyed the taste of the Banh Mi and with a bit of spicy sauce, it tasted really good. For a hot Melbourne day it was nice to have a meal which was not really a hot meal.
I also sampled a Soft Shell Crab & Avocado Rice Paper Roll (Solider) for $3.40 with a spicy hoisin sauce included (can be seen in the first image of this post). To be honest, this was a disappointment for the price. Not much soft shell crab and not much avocado. It was mostly lettuce. I know several place closer to my work that would have more affordable rice paper rolls and more of the key ingredients in it. There was nothing wrong with the taste but did lack the quality of what I would expect for a $3.40 rice paper roll.
All in all, I did like Roll'd however I think for what you are getting it is expensive. I am keen to try some other Vietnamese places near my work (I have been told there are a couple) and also I must get down to St Albans to try Melbourne's best Banh Mi. I most likely would only return to Roll'd if I happened to be down that end of the city.
15 Hardware Lane,
Melbourne (also has two other locations in Russel Street & William Street)
Shanghai Master Dumpling
Anyone who regularly reads this blog knows I have recently started a bit of an obsession with dumplings and in particular Xiao Long Bao (soup dumplings). One day at work I had a big craving for dumplings. I actually decided that I would skip my gym class (bad girl) and get dumplings. A at my work suggested trying Shanghai Master Dumplings as it was quite close and cheap. Two things I can agree with!
We got there at about 12.30 and it became apparent we would not get a seat. The place was packed! We decided to order take-away and eat our hot food back at our desks.
Traditional Steamed Xiao Long Bao - 8 pieces for $9.30
Looking back at my pictures I realise that I was too excited to dig into my dumplings that I did not take any decent pictures. The dumplings were slightly smaller than most places I have tried them at but given they were much cheaper, it is not something I should be complaining about! The skins of the dumplings were a decent thickness and there was a good amount of soup inside. I ended up demolishing the eight dumplings quite quickly and was very satisfied with them! There were not the nest Xiao Long Bao I have had, but they were good and given how close this place is to my work, it is great to satisfy any cravings. It is good value for money as well.
If you want to eat in at this place, I would suggest getting there by 12pm. However they do run a pretty efficient take-away service so that is always a good option.
Shanghai Master Dumpling
173 King Street,
Melbourne - no website