Tuesday, September 13
Hot Space Sichuan Bar (麻辣空间)
I love Melbourne CBD for its quick cheap Asian meals. This store is new, before I left Melbourne it used to be home a cheap Singaporean cafe that served a $10 bah ku teh with two tiny pieces of pork.
Location: Chinatown (213 Russel St, Melbourne - see map)
Website: no website, but there are several urbanspoon reviews.
Price: thanks to the lovely waiter handing me a take home menu, I was saved the trouble of taking photos of the menu during my meal. Prices are generally around $10 for rice dishes, $7 for appetisers, $15 to $20 for shared main with $2 for rice. Sorry the menus aren't great quality but you can still make out the menu if you zoom into the photos.
Fish fragrant eggplant with rice (素 - 鱼香茄子饭) - delicious with the right balance of vinegar-y taste. Except it was overly greasy and could have been more spicy. We tried to enhance the spiciness by the extra chili on the side but it didn't help at all - "hot space Sichuan" food wasn't at all hot after all.
Special Sichuan fried rice with chicken (四川芽菜鸡粒炒饭) - fried rice with shredded chicken and pickled Chinese vegetables, which was strange. Tasted okay but way too salty.
Other: warning - if you look carefully on the "rice dishes" menu, normal steamed rice is an extra $2 whereas egg fried rice is $2.80. It's ridiculous that you would charge extra for rice on rice dishes. We didn't get charged this time, but we definitely did last time (I guess it depends on the waiter or waitresses). It's a stupid thing to do, makes people feel cheated.
Rating: 2/5 I enjoy some of the dishes here, including the eggplant and Gong Bao chicken from last time. And I wouldn't mind trying some of the other main. But I wouldn't have visited again if I had remembered the ridiculous extra payment for rice. And it's disappointing to have "Sichuan" cuisine that isn't hot at all.