Inbetween the four days where the Australian F1 Grand Prix was on, besides the occasional shopping and time spent at our grandstand seats, Zen and I also took the time to catch up with some familiar faces. One of the guys we met up with was Will.
So we joined the peak lunch hour rush and stumbled into Wonton House on Russell Street. Without a particular place in mind, we qualified the restaurant purely based on its perceived popularity and whether or not there was a table free (as we would rather be eating than waiting).
I immediately liked the sight of a room full of noodle slurpers as well as the restaurant’s oriental rosewood and marble furnishings and plush wallpaper.
The ground floor was full so we were guided upstairs to a brighter and more open room.
The menu quite possibly included every Chinese dish that ever existed and thus we ordered randomly!
First was congee. Out of the twenty varieties of congee on the menu, we decide to order the sliced duck and lettuce congee ($9.50) which was featured heavily on its own page. Congee to me is the ultimate comfort food. The pieces of sliced duck hidden in the rice porridge added a more robust taste to this revitalizing dish. We of course had to order a side dish of the crisp and chewy textured deep-fried dough sticks ($3). I simply believe congee isn’t congee without them.
For our drinks, the boys copy me and also have the grass jelly with milk tea ($3.80) which is wonderfully refreshing.
Then we have the soft shell crab in spicy salt ($6.80) and steamed Shanghai mini pork buns (soup dumplings). The crab was delicious! A crisp batter which clung onto the delicate soft shell crab lay beneath a fiery mix of hot chillis, shallots, fried onion and garlic.
The soup dumplings on the other hand were over-done, meaty and soup-less!
We couldn’t leave wontons out either, considering the restaurant was named after this hearty dish and have the small pork and prawn wonton soup ($6). The wonton dumplings were plump and had the characteristics of bring homemade as they weren’t skimpy on the filling.
Lastly, we have the char kway teow ($9.80) as a filler dish. It wasn’t the best I’ve ever had but it was substantial – a good balance in the sauce between shrimp paste, dark and light soya sauce and oyster sauce, and generous proportions of seafood, meats and lap cheong (Chinese sausage).
Wonton House is a serious cheap eat with the total bill for three of us coming to about $40. Plus we had enough left overs to feed an additional person!
181 Russell Street, Melbourne, VIC
271 Swanston Street, Melbourne, VIC
Open Monday – Sunday, 11am – 11pm