320 Racecourse Rd, Flemington. Phone: 9372 6369
What do you do on Judgment Day?
We go to Racecourse Rd for lunch.
We first check one of our fave Turkish kebab meats ‘n’ dips places, but hastily retreat when we realise the plate-size lunches have escalated in price to $15 and more.
Plan B is definitely Green Tea.
While a whole bunch of folks are having a fine old time comparing the relative merits of the next-door-neighbours Laksa King and Chef Lagenda, around the corner in Pin Oak Crescent, something appeals to us about checking out the premises vacated by Laksa King in the process of moving to its swish abode.
So it is that we amble up the arcade known to generations of Melbourne cheap eaters.
The space that was formerly Laksa King has undergone a transformation from those dog-eared and dingy days. It looks swell and swish, with much dark wood.
On the signage outside, Green Tea announces itself as purveying “Vietnamese & Chinese Cuisine”, but there are also Thai and Malaysian-derived dishes on the menu.
There’s pho, laksas, nasi goreng, green curry, pork belly hot pot and chicken teriyaki.
Will this be capable multi-tradition, perhaps even sensational? Or just a clumsy melange?
First up is a complementary plate of prawn crackers.
Then dad learns a lesson about letting Bennie have the run of the drinks cabinet unsupervised – to the tune of $3.80 and a bottle of Cascade sarsaparilla.
Bennie, meanwhile, learns that sarsaparilla tastes like not particularly nice medicine and smells like footy changerooms.
Two plain dimmies are stodgy, hot and delicious, but pretty steep at $4.90.
Having already pronounced a hankering for fried noodles of some sort, Bennie orders the mee goreng ($10.80).
It’s a good one without reaching any great heights. Some more seasoning zing may’ve been a good idea. This dish is routinely served with a lemon wedge on the side. We ask for one and it is provided.
That the lad fails to finish his food, though, says more about its quantity than quality.
I order the beef laksa.
I get the vegetable laksa ($8.80).
I’m not one for sending perfectly good food back to the kitchen – not today anyway – and proceed to enjoy what is an impressive array of non-meat goodies.
In my bowl are bok choy and other leafy vegetables, cauliflower, broccoli, onion, carrot, green beans, tofu, baby corn, two kinds of mushroom and quite possibly some items that escaped notice.
The noodles are egg only; no rice noodles here. Nor is the usual pile of bean sprouts resting under all.
The soup is thin, uncreamy and not particularly flavoursome. As well, I’m pretty sure I detect a whiff of tom yum about it all.
The whole experience is a bit odd.
Paying for our $31.10 meal with a $50 note, I receive a handful of shrapnel in return.
Dang! I really wanted to be knocked out by this place.