Rose Garden BBQ Shop, 435 Elizabeth St, Melbourne. Phone: 9329 156
A business meeting in Flinders Lane finds us parking at Victoria Market and ambling along Elizabeth St checking out potential lunch spots for our return journey.
Meeting over, we are in plenty of time to avoid the notorious peak-hour rush at Rose Garden BBQ Shop – but only just.
By the time we split, the queue thing is happening.
But the truth is this place is run so efficiently, the turnover so high, that I doubt wait times ever get out of hand.
That’s just one reason we fall instantly in love with this place.
We’ve walked past it a gazillion times, yet this is our first visit.
Now we know why it’s so popular.
We love the signs on the wall, the menu that has far more depth than the BBQ meats with rice or noodles that the name implies, the service that is no-fuss without being brusque, the fact they have Top 10 menu list.
And we love the look of just about every single dish we see being served or consumed around us.
And, of course, the price is right.
Despite the menu being more wide-ranging than we have been expecting, there are only a couple of snack-type appestisers.
Our fried wontons ($5) are fine.
The porky fillings are regulation but we really dig the light batter that seems to have quite a pronounced eggy factor.
From the Top 10 list, Bennie chooses spicy cumin beef on rice ($9.50), which is excellent.
It’s oily but not off-puttingly so.
The plentiful beef is tender and delicious, no doubt due to MSG – but we don’t care.
The crunchy onion strands add texture and – best of all – the cumin seasoning is all the more fabulous for being quite restrained.
As you can see, the broth in my soya chicken/roast pork soup noodles ($10.80) is quite oily, but it has good if not great flavour – and certainly it’s better than that experienced at Supper Inn a few days previously in a similar dish.
I had been intending to order my roast meats with rice, a little concerned how I was going negotiate the boning of the bird bits in the soup context.
But my absentminded ordering of the soup rendition proves no problem, for the meats are very, very good.
The roast pork is fat-free and without gristle of any kind, though I know full well that such can be just a matter of luck and timing.
The soya chicken is equally tender and gorgeous, with the meat falling easily from the bones.
Wow – what a great-tasting Melbourne cheap eats joint this is, and surely it’s the standout of a stretch of Elizabeth St crammed with eating options.
Excitingly, in terms of the long menu, we’ve only just begun.
See the review by Asian Restaurants In Melbourne here.