Comfort eats · Dining Review · Japanese · Melbourne · Thai · Vietnamese

Comfort Lunches for $10

It’s always nice to have a meal out over the weekend, and I guess even in cafe-friendly Melbourne, there are times when we tire of cafe food. And there would be just times that we desire something a little more wallet-friendly and a little less fancy but hitting the spot at the same time. Otherwise what I would call a ‘comfort lunch’ 🙂

Sounds like a challenge? Well, I guess in Melbourne where there is a heavy saturation of restaurants, we are bound to find some options for a comfort lunch! And because we love a good meal under a budget, here are some of my finds that a $10 note got me!

I Love Pho 264

We were pleased to find a 2nd storey that could house our big group!
We were pleased to find a 2nd storey that could house our big group!

We swung by this place for a quick lunch after our Old Folks Ministry visit at Kew. Having heard so many good reviews about this place, I was really keen to try out their pho!

Special Beef Combination Pho
Special Beef Combination Pho

The portion was really generous and it was a fine bowl of pho so we were definitely getting value for our money (from memory, it was about $9 a bowl?). But unfortunately, the general consensus around the table was that the pho didn’t seem very outstanding, as compared to other pho places we’ve been before.

While the broth definitely didn’t have the heavy MSG taste that most other pho places have, it didn’t seem as concentrated. This could be our once-off experience as I’ve heard alot of good reviews about this place. And after all, in a suburb concentrated with Vietnamese restaurants, the battle of the pho is quite fierce.

But anyway, you can’t deny that this is a good deal to get your tummy filled! So yes, here’s 1 place for a decent pho under $10!

I Love Pho 264 on Urbanspoon

Mamanee Thai Restaurant 

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From Richmond, we move on to Collingwood! Where you will find this gem of a Thai casual eatery.

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Okay so their meal deal is right at the $10 mark. Still not a bad deal right?

Panang Curry Beef
Panang Curry Beef

The beef curry looks a little dry doesn’t it? But taste-wise, the curry had that rich coconut milk flavour and the beef was quite tender.

Pad See Ew Chicken
Pad See Ew Chicken

This will be the sweet version of the Singaporean Char Kway Teow. I was a little scared by the amount of oil that sank to the bottom of the bowl. But I guess I can’t complain with the generous amount of veggies and chicken given. I also love the soft egginess (if there is such a word) throughout the dish. This piping hot dish totally hit all the carbs, veggies and protein quota and that leaves me one satisfied customer!

Pad Thai Chicken
Pad Thai Chicken

Ms JQ got this and I must say I had abit of a dish envy when I stole a bite. The noodles were nicely stir-fried, with the right balance of sweet and savoury flavours, ending with that refreshing lemon hit and peanut crunch. Just like my Pad See Ew, there was a good serving of chicken and beansprouts.

Thai milk tea, which was $3 from memory
Thai milk tea, which was probably $3 from memory

Ms JQ couldn’t resist ordering this to share which kinda busted our $10 budget, but only just by a little! 😛 We found this a lot sweeter to the teh tarik that we are accustomed to and there seems to be a slight floral taste to it. It was a good thing that we shared as I’m not sure if I can finish this sugary drink all by myself!

Anyway, at Mamanee, your $10 note stretches far with the portion size (that bowl is deeper than you think!) and pretty authentic Thai food. So a good place for a quick-fix Thai lunch!

Mamanee Thai on Urbanspoon

Fukuryu Ramen

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So Fukuryu Ramen is 1 of the latest places riding on the ramen wave in the CBD so we came to check it out. It also helps that their ramen bowls were under $10 which helped in our comfort lunch quest!

Signature Tonkotsu - $9.90
Signature Tonkotsu – $9.90

We couldn’t help comparing this to our favourite tonkotsu ramen at Don Too. While Fukruyu‘s version is indeed creamy and the noodles were al-dente, we still preferred the one at Don Too (sorry Fukruyu!). I guess the char shu is more meltingly tender and the broth had a thicker pork stock at Don Too. So while the tonkotsu is decent at Fukruyu, we know which 1 is still our favourite ramen in town!

Shoyu Ramen - $9.90
Shoyu Ramen – $9.90

I thought I would go abit healthier and order a clear-soup bowl. But it turns out, I still like my ramen with a creamy broth (i.e. tonkotsu all the way!). Again, I can’t fault the texture of the noodles and the entire dish, but I just didn’t find the ramen very outstanding.

Chicken Karaage - $5.90
Chicken Karaage – $5.90

Again, Ms JQ and I couldn’t help sharing this side dish which caused us to go over our budget a little (oops) but hey, at least I’m reviewing 1 more dish right?  I guess we couldn’t resist the call of fried chicken! The chicken inside was really tender but I didn’t find the batter crunchy enough. After all, it’s karaage right? So yea, I wasn’t a big fan of it but I did like the spicy mayo on the side!

Our comfort ramen lunch
Our comfort ramen lunch (photo credit: Ms JQ)

So overall, I wasn’t quite blown away by this latest ramen hit in town. The place does have a cool vibe and it is a lot more spacious than the cozy Don Too. But in terms of the ramen quality, I may have to remain loyal to my favourite ramen place. But anyhow, this place definitely gives a good value bowl of ramen and I won’t hesitate to recommend this place for a comfort ramen lunch.

Fukuryu Ramen on Urbanspoon

So there you have it – 3 choices for comfort lunches, and 3 different cuisines as well! How characteristic of Melbourne’s multicultural food scene! So what are you waiting for? Hit these spots to fill up your lunch tummy and stretch your $10 bill!

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