When I visited Gold Star Noodle House recently, I noticed the enormous lunch time queues for the nearby Pancake Dessert House and made a mental note to visit at some stage just to see what the fuss was about.

The next week, I was looking for a quick pre-movie dinner option and thought of the no-frills Hong Kong style diner. A quick scan of Melbourne food blogs determined that the dish to have there was the char kway teow, one of my favourite rice noodle dishes, accompanied by hot almond tea, one of my favourite Asian hot drinks. Yay!

On a weekday evening the queues had dispersed but there was still a steady stream of students, after-work diners, Asian and non-Asian alike. The concertina menu of 200+ items, plus more options pasted onto the wall, can be quite daunting, so I’m glad I came armed with a recommendation.

The service was perfunctory and just as quickly as I placed my order the food came out. This is definitely not a place to linger, I was in and out in 20 minutes and had to share a table with a stranger.

The mug of hot almond tea ($1.50 with rice or noodle dish, $2.50 otherwise) was just what the doctor ordered for the cold evening. It would be too much to ask for it to be ground from scratch but I’m a sucker for any form of almond tea, even powdered stuff. In fact, I’ve been dreaming of nursing another mug of it for the last few days…

The large serve of seafood char kway teow with XO sauce lacked the sort of vibrant colour that I’m used to with Hong Kong style char kway teow (which often contains red char siu, Chinese sausage and a lot more green spring onion). But it was certainly very tasty and piping hot, testament to the noodles being tossed with the turbo wok power that imparts the sort of the flavour and taste (wok hei) which is almost impossible to replicate at home. The noodles also didn’t come pooled with a sea of oil, which is one of my great fears with char kway teow. Overall, not a bad dish for $9.80.

As I glanced around I noticed that many people were eating the pick-your-own-toppings soup noodles and the dish-with-rice options – no one was eating pancakes or desserts, very confusing.

I’m keen to try Pancake Dessert House again – do you have any favourite dishes there that I should try?

For  more cheap and cheerful Chinese food in the CBD, try The Grand BBQ.

  • Pancake Dessert House, Shop 18, Mid-city Arcade, 200 Bourke St, Melbourne +61 3 9663 1400

Pancake Dessert House Eatery on Urbanspoon