China Bar, 235 Russell Street, Melbourne. Phone: 9639 1633
After earlier in the evening attending a very interesting panel discussion on “the challenges of urban renewal” at VU, I had no desire for food whatsoever.
So I spend the rest of the night just reading and goofing off.
Then, of course, the munchies kick in pretty much right on the pumpkin hour.
Normally, I’d simply go to bed looking forward to breakfast.
But this is one of those rare occasions – no work tomorrow, no son to get awake and off to school (including making his breakfast and lunch), not even any appointments or pressing matters to attend to.
So off I go in a reminder of earlier times in my life when post-midnight escapades were common and dawn conclusions were not rare.
I’d love to head somewhere more local, but as you all know – I’m sure – there literally is nowhere to go, AFAIK, save for kebab shacks.
Besides, getting into the CBD and finding a park at this time of night is such a breeze, it seems local.
China Bar or Stalactites?
Last time I was in the city late at night, Bennie and I hit the newer, 24-hour China Bar in Swanston Street as the Russell Street version was closed for renovations.
Since the, we’ve also checked out in a look-not-eat fashion the China Bar Signature Asian Buffet, a branch of which is also on Russell Street.
The problem there for us, should we ever indulge, is not the pricing but the vast range of food.
I reckon being around it all but being able to only consume a small bit of what’s available would do my head in a little.
The regular Russell Street China Bar is an old friend from way back in the days when I lived in Flinders Lane and even before.
I know that these days, CB has many locations spread across Melbourne.
But it always seems like real-deal Chinese/Malaysian to me – with cheap, tasty food, many folks coming and going, and brusque staff.
All is as usual when I enter.
The place is packed but not unbearably so.
There’s no drunks in evidence but I always find it a really neat thing to re-discover that night owl eating is such a widespread, common and utterly normal activity, even on a week night.
There are many younger people, students and office workers both, in the house but also family groups.
My two-roast combination with rice costs $11.90 and looks both a treat and bloody enormous.
It is big but it’s made to look even bigger because of the huge amount of rice included.
The meat portions seem a little bigger than regulation serves and are good, even if some of the larger pieces of soya chicken and roast duck are a bit dry and the meat-bone relationship difficult to navigate.
Still, it’s good stuff … though if I wonder if I should have ordered the laksa.
But then, I always wonder that.