Saturday, September 15, 2007

Chilli Padi

Menzies Alley, Melbourne Central, VIC 3000

Chilli Padi, located at the end of a laneway in Melbourne Central shopping centre offers a selection of modern Asian cuisine. I wouldn't have thought so till my 2nd visit to this place. Little is known about the place, the 1st impression cast on it was 'must be one of those suited only for westerners'. This is absolutely incorrect. This place has 2 separated dining areas; along the laneway, in the shop itself and there is a staircase that will lead you up to the 1st level. The menu served on both areas are different. The upper level is a fine dining area, a more exquisite selection and more pricy. Who would have thought that there would be a difference?

My 1st visit was right up at the 1st level, it wasn't because i have an expensive taste but because there weren't available spaces along the laneway and was directed to the 1st level. No one explained to me about the difference, was given a good service, quite surprised by the selection of food and its price. Needless to say, the fine dining area is quite impressive, classy in its interior.

I had the 'hor fun' with beef, a huge plate, which reminded me of the 'hor fun' in Asia. This tasted really good. Well presented too, for a typical cheap meal certainly has been presented well enough (upgraded) to make it as a fine dining selection.

When i left the place, i realised that the menu selection is different if you dine along the laneways and inside the shop. I decided to come back for the 2nd time. This time round i sat along the laneway, i was surprised by the menu. There is a 17 dollars package meal (entree, main and a drink). Wine is one of the drinks selection. Cheap! Obviously, it has to be a budget wine. I doubt you get Penfolds, Brown Brothers, Taylors wines. I couldn't help watching what others were eating, the fried koay teow was impressive, roti canai and even the fried rice was tempting. I had the chicken curry (main), a bowl of spring rolls, wonton and samosa (entree) and a glass of red. The plate of fried eggplant with chilli and mayo dip was tempting, it did sound weird but it tasted good. The mayonaise was a Japanese mayonaise.

The restaurant also serves hawker-style food on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights after 10pm. I'm not sure of the food on the list. Will certainly visit this place again to taste some of its other impressive appearance food.