It was a day where I was showering Muffin with a cavalcade of treats, as it was the first time I had seen her since her birthday. Earlier we had done post-birthday Brunetti’s coffee and cake, followed by post-birthday movie date (we saw Cairo Time at Nova – a heart burstingly gorgeous film, might show up on my end-of-year best of list if 2010’s movie crop doesn’t perk up considerably), and now it was time for post-birthday lunch!
I’d originally thought to take Muffin to Hardware Societe, but we arrived right in the middle of the lunch hour rush and there was not a free spot to be had. So instead we rambled around the corner to try out Horse Bazaar, on my behalf quite excitedly, as I’d read Easy As (Vegan) Pie’s effusive posts with great interest and was keen to try some super vegie noodles.
It’s quite an interesting space, I think the phrase Muffin and I came up to describe it was something akin to ‘stylishly unfinished’, and for one in the afternoon, it was criminally empty. I say criminally, because I think Horse Bazaar offers one of the most filling and fresh lunch options in the city.
We ended up ordering the noodles, the okonomiyaki and the vegetarian gyoza. I’ve been lucky to sample some pretty awesome okonomiyaki lately, what with this and Disco Beans’ examples. Horse Bazaar’s version is a much more traditional version that Disco’s Beans’ grain-filled ones, but where it really rises above the pack is the utter freshness of it. You can tell both by the vivid bright colours of the vegies and the amazing fresh smell that the vegetables had been grated up mere minutes before it appeared on the table in front of you. Absolutely lovely.
To the vegetarian gyoza. These are great and fresh as well, and absolutely loaded with ginger,which well pleased such unashamed ginger fanatics as Muffin and myself, but might be a tad too strong for those who are ginger leery. The sesame soy dipping sauce that accompanies them quite frankly drives me wild, I would probably chug it down by itself but for the fact that such behaviour tends to make one a dining pariah.
The vegie noodles is a pretty hefty and varied dish. It’s comprised of thick hokkien noodles, broccoli, carrot, beans, walnuts, a teriyaki-ish sauce, and what looked suspiciously like raisins until closer inspection revealed them to be tiny black beans. My relief at such a revelation caused this exchange:
“Thank goodness they’re beans! I can’t handle raisins in savory things, it’s too weird.”
“But what about savoury foods that traditionally have raisins in them, like Moroccan couscous?”
“I know it’s authentic, but it’s still too weird.”
Muffin responded with a raised eyebrow, which honestly I don’t blame her for it the slightest.
Like everything else we sampled, the noodles were fresh, very generously portioned, and just really damn good. All of my subsequent lunch visits have been equally as enjoyable, and I’d love to go back of an evening and see how the venue is as an evening reveling spot. I honestly don’t know what else to say other than get on your pony and go!
397 Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne CBD
Ph: 9670 2329