RaRamen Box Hill Review

by duncan on November 4, 2010

in Chinese


Centro Box Hill Market Box Hill 3128
(03) 9899 8966

An old Box Hill dumpling house has recently had a refresh, and offers even better value than before


Located within the market at Centro Box Hill, RaRamen is one of the older eateries in the center and is not located in the food court, so visitors often miss it.

Until last year RaRamen was slightly dingy and dark, but always popular. At some stage this year they’ve refit out the premises (possibly taking over the store next to it) with the new decor offering a more appealing venue to eat at.

Most locals would know the place for its dumplings, but the menu is far more extensive that that, offering pages and pages of Chinese soup and noodle dishes, many under $15.

Meals come with a free red been soup and free unlimited use of a slushie machine…sure, an interesting touch in a Chinese eatery, but it means you save even more on your visit.

The service is super quick and so is delivery of the food: you won’t wait more than 5 minutes to eat, and the place specialises during the day on quick turnover of customers, probably a key to why their prices are so affordable.

mixed tempura

On our most recent visit, we ordered the pork dumplings and mixed tempura dish. The dumpling were something insanely cheap like $8 for $15, the tempura came in at $10.

I can best sum up the dumplings one way: love them. Fresh, easy to eat, and far too many for one person to consume. The tempura was a little heavy on the batter compared to say a good Japanese restaurant, but more than enjoyable to eat.

I don’t live close to Box Hill anymore, and when I do head out that way I tend to favor local Vietnamese eatery Indochine, but RaRamen is definitely second on my list of local favourites, and I most definitely will eat there again.

3.5 stars out of 5

For: cheap, quick,delicious food
Against: parking is a pain in Centro Box Hill, but nothing at all wrong with the food at RaRamen

Raramen on Urbanspoon


Georges Camberwell Review

by duncan on October 29, 2010

in Cafe,Italian/ Pizza

salmon risotto

Georges Restaurant Bar Cafe

819 Burke Road Camberwell VIC 3124
(03) 9882 0777

What was once a department store now offers a reasonable pasta menu in the heart of Camberwell


Located in what was once the Georges Department Store, Georges is situated in the heart of the Burke Road shopping strip in Camberwell.

Being a former department store means that the building is big, and Georges seems to have no shortage of willing patrons wanting to fill its large spaces.

While visiting for lunch, service was quick, although notably you do have to provide a credit card up front if you’re dining outdoors.

The lunch menu offered a reasonable choice of cafe food, be it somewhat limited to Gnocchi, Spaghetti and Risotto dishes.

chicken parmigiana

Being the adventurous sort I am, I ordered the chicken parmigiana. Weirdly it came with chips and zero salad; the chips were expected, but the lack of salad is stingy. The chicken tasted fresh (free range) and was an enjoyable eat.

My partner ordered the salmon risotto (I don’t eat salmon so didn’t try it) which she described as tasty but not the best she has had.

They may well serve a better dinner menu, because lunch wasn’t all that exciting given the prices charged. We’d possibly go back again, but only for coffee or to try the dinner menu there.

2 stars out of 5

For: good service, nice fitout and location
Against: standard fare, a little pricey for what you get

Georges Restaurant Bar Cafe on Urbanspoon


Review: Churchills Cafe And Larder Mont Albert

by duncan on October 28, 2010

in Cafe


Churchills Cafe And Larder

13-15 Hamilton St Mont Albert 3127
(03) 9890 3444

What was once a popular cafe is noticeable now for its lack of patrons. Either a change of ownership or focus has killed what was once one of my favourite Eastern Suburbs cafes.


Located in the sleepy suburb of Mont Albert near the train station, Churchils Cafe and Larder has long been a popular cafe for local residents. I must disclose that I use to be a local and a frequent visitor. My last morning in Mont Albert before moving was spent at Churchills, and I use to always enjoy the food and service there.

Hence my disappointment as I write this post.

I visited Churchills the weekend gone with my new fiance as a treat, thinking I was taking her to one of the better cafes in the Eastern Surburbs. In times past, you often had to wait for a table. Inside was a rich lader of cakes and meats, the service was friendly, and a large table offered the days newspapers and recent magazines you could enjoy while eating.

Now that’s all gone.

The first alarm bell was the lack of people parked outside and within Churchills itself. Upon entering, the larder area was (for lack of a better term) bordered over. The newspapers and magazines had disappeared. On a bright note we were seated immediately.

We eventually got to order after a surprising wait: surprising because there weren’t that many people eating at the time.

churchills mont albert

The original menu has changed as well: while once Churchills often an interesting variety of food options for breakfast, today the menu has shrunk and offers far less.

I ordered the bacon and eggs, while my fiance ordered poached eggs on a mushroom frittata.

To be fair the food was reasonable, if not very exciting. Churchills once offered the freshest eggs and ingredients, but this wasn’t to be on this trip. Edible, but not the wow the food once offered. The frittata was pleasant and cooked well…but that’s it.

Despite it being realitively quiet, we had to queue for 10 minutes to pay the bill, and while waiting there patrons were coming to the counter asking for menus because they were tired of waiting to be given one. A customer asking for a take away coffee snorted in disgust when told it would take 10 minutes for him to get one coffee, and walked out without ordering.

I’m not sure whether Churchills has changed hands, or simply had a change of direction, but I know one thing for sure: I’ll never be returning there, and given their lack of customers on our visit, many locals have already made the same decision.

1 star out of 5

For: food is ok
Against: terrible service, lack of atmosphere, larder now by name only.

Churchill Cafe & Larder on Urbanspoon


Review: Shuji Sushi Hawthorn

by duncan on October 27, 2010

in Japanese

Shuji Sushi Hawthorn

Shop 5 Don Arcade 672 Glenferrie Road Hawthorn 3121
(03) 9818 1811

Cheap and cheerful Japanese food right near Glenferrie Station


Shuji Sushi is a lesser known chain of Japanese restuarants in the Melbourne area that offer a variety of Japanese standard fare.

As with most chains, you don’t expect the best in the way of food, however you do expect consistency and a reasonable price.

Located in the walkway to Glenferrie Station, Shuji Sushi caters primarily to commuters and students at nereby Swinburne University, and can at times be busy.

The menu offers a variety of Japanese dishes, from sushi rolls, bento boxes and your standard stir fries with rice.

On our most recent visit we ordered the Terayki chicken and Bento Box D. The Teriaki was reasonable at the price, but far from the best I’ve eaten. The bento box really seems to be an excuse to offer more Teriaki chicken with a few Japanese style sides: enjoyable but nothing too exciting.

If you accept that you’re not going to get gourmet Japanese food, Shuji Sushi is reasonable, quick eating well located in the heart of Hawthorn. We’ll eat there again (actually, this wasn’t my first visit there) mostly based on the cost, with dishes coming in at around the $10 mark.

2.5 stars out of 5

For: cheap and quick
Against: standard Japanese chain food


Review: Kyneton Bakehouse

by duncan on September 28, 2010

in Cafe,Modern Australian

Kyneton Bakehouse

52 Piper St Kyneton 3444
(03) 5422 3600

This sleepy little town has an extra reason to visit: great pies.


Long bypassed by the Calder Freeway, Kyneton is a sleepy country town with a variety of shops and eating establishments. Standing among them is the Kyneton Bakehouse.

If you’ve never really been into the pie eating scene, there’s a national competition for pies in Australia with only the best outlets winning medals, and that’s what drew us into the Kyneton Bakehouse: a sign on the window saying they’d won two silvers and two bronze medals.

The good news is they were deserved.

While the variety of pie tastes on offer is somewhat limited compared to some serious pie shops I’ve visited, there’s no complaining about the food.

The curry pie (pictured above) came with light pastry that was neither to dry not moist. The meat was tender and the curry base spicy enough without being over the top.

The Sheppards Pie was also a treat with the right balance.

The best pies in Australia are arguably at the Miami Bakehouse south of Perth (and they win a pile of medals) but I can honestly say that these were the nicest pies I’ve tasted since leaving Western Australia

4 stars out of 5

For: really good pies
Against: you’ve got to drive to Kyneton to eat them