I had suggested Cho Gao for Saturday lunch with my long-lost high school friend, despite my misgivings about its shopping centre locale, because I had heard about its expansive view of the State Library. Unfortunately, it was too cold and cacophonous (protests about the Northern Territory intervention) for us to sit on the balcony for a pleasant catch up, so we picked a corner table indoors in the dim oriental wood styled dining room.

We each selected a roti wrap from the express lunch menu – beef for me, pork for Emily, plus a soft drink each. My wrap was extremely unappetising, containing the sort of nasty shredded corned beef that you find in sub-standard sandwich bars and slathered with gloops of processed mayonnaise. Emily declared her roast pork wrap with spiced apple compote delicious – or maybe she was just being polite as I had picked the restaurant.

On the basis of my meal, I don’t think Cho Gao will ever be able to fill its cavernous dining room, and during our lunch there was only one other lonely pair of diners. The silver lining to lunch was that the damage to my wallet was limited to $10.

  • Cho Gao Restaurant & Bar, Level 3, Melbourne Central, Melbourne

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