Box Hill, VIC
Ever notice the way your tastes change as you grow up? As a child, I could eat a whole bag of potato chips in one go, but a slice of cake (so delicious and moist) would literally make me ill. My favourite foods consisted of the fattiest braised meats, and whilst I still like them today, I’d be the last person to say no to a fresh, vibrant salad. And oily, Asian hawker food like the kind served at China Bar? I could never say no.
China Bar rose to fame when they opened their gourmet buffet on Burwood Highway, but they started out as a chain of Malaysian hawker restaurants, ducks hanging in the windows and all. I absolutely love their buffet (as much as a foodie can love a buffet), but I’m not too well-versed in terms of the food served at their casual restaurants, having only been once, more than 6 or so years ago.
|Fried Koay Teow ($9.8)|
I wanted dry noodles and so did Chris, so a plate of Fried Koay Teow ($9.8) went down a treat. Or it would have, if it hadn’t been so greasy. The noodles had lovely, charred edges and the sprouts were a crispy, fresh counterpoint, but I just couldn’t get past the fact that it was sitting in a puddle of oil.
|Roast Duck and Crispy Pork on Rice ($9.8)|
Faring better was a plate of Roast Duck and Crispy Pork on Rice ($9.8). The duck was very good, just fatty enough to make it tender and juicy, but not enough to make it grotty. The pork wasn’t as moist as what they serve at the buffet, and a bit too salty, but any meat capped with shards of crackling is a win in my books.
China Bar doesn’t serve fabulous food; I would hesitate to call it anything more than average. But their food is fresh, the servings are large(ish), and the bills are small(ish), and all that together makes for a restaurant popular enough to thrive in the ever-competitive Box Hill.
Rating: 11.5/20 – here ducky ducky ducky