Kimchi Lunchbox

When I heard that there was a cheap-and-cheerful Korean place on Glenferrie Road that churns out everyone’s favourite Korean dishes for $10 and under a pop, it would be an understatement to say that my curiosity was piqued. I needed to get that stuff in my face YESTERDAY. Luckily Amelia is always down for cheap food adventures, so we set off to investigate after a Sunday afternoon movie session.

Kimchi Lunchbox is clearly designed to be an ‘eat quick and do not linger’ kind of place. You order at a counter, collect your cutlery and napkins from the same counter and your drinks from a fridge, then sit at simple tables and chairs to await your food. You won’t be waiting long, the kitchen pumps out food with almost obscene speed.

Not only is the food quick but, word of warning, the servings here are the size of SPACE, so bring very eager and hungry tummies with you. Amelia’s teriyaki chicken lunchbox came with not only ample amounts of stewy chicken, but a mountain of white rice, a smaller mountain range of marinated beanshoots, spicy cabbage kimchi, beancurd strips and a piece of both orange and cantaloupe. While she wasn’t terribly fussed with the accompanying piles of vegetables, Amelia was very keen on the teriyaki chicken itself, and was slightly aggrieved that it was such a massive serving that she couldn’t eat it all.

I of course had to go with the vegetarian bibimbap, what with bibimbap being my most favourite dish in the history of ever. This one featured white rice, beanshoot kimchi, shredded zucchini, fat slices of shiitake mushroom, and a fried egg. The rice ended up being a bit too moist, and didn’t properly crisp up against the hot bowl as bibimbap should, but it was still a tasty and adequate version.

Kimchi Lunchbox won’t immediately become your very favourite Korean restaurant around town, but they will fill a hole for when you just need to get some bibimbap into you without completely cleaning out your change pocket. There’s enough vegetarian variety spread throughout the menu that I’m certainly interested enough to go back and see whether their versions of Korean savoury pancakes and jabchae are to my liking.

Kimchi Lunchbox

650-652 Glenferrie Road, Hawthorn

Ph: 9818 1233

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Argos Loves Company

There’s nothing quite so unfortunate as to read a few positive pieces written about a place, feel that it’s the sort of thing that will totally be your jam, and then have a disappointing visit that falls well short of ticking all your buttons. A “it seemed so right, how could it go so wrong?” type situation.

I was really wanting Argos Loves Company to be awesome. It had a sense of  aesthetic whimsy to it that I couldn’t help but respond to. I mean, it’s themed around DOGS, for heavens sake, how could I not want to be in on that?! And as an engaging, comfortable space it works very well, all the little doggy touches and the old school chairs and desks for tables and the dainty crockery, it was all quite lovely and homey. The waitresses were attentive and welcoming, it was bursting at the seams on a Thursday afternoon with chattering folk, I was primed to enjoy myself.

But the food. Oh, if but for the food…

I wanted something light but refreshing to munch on, so decided on the herbed ricotta on sourdough. I wasn’t bargaining on being given something that was far too bland that anything tagged with the word ‘herbed’ had any right to be. Herbed amounted to a sprinkling of chives and a huge whacking amount of flat-leaf parsley. Flat-leaf parsley, you are honestly the worst thing ever, particularly when you gather in a gang in order to attack innocent tastebuds with your overwhelming noxiousness. The ricotta, which was a veritable mountain (the servings here are generous), had not been seasoned in any way apart from the herbs, and frankly did not improve even after I showered it in a tornado of salt and pepper. Bland, bland, bland. No creamy texture either, it was quite unpleasant. The only component that proved tasty was the sourdough, and I love toast, but the tastiest part of any dish should not be the bread, it just shouldn’t.

And then there was the tea. You lot know that I get particularly unforgiving about poor tea. The earl grey I ordered was well-presented in a tall, ornate silver pot, making me all excited that I was going to get a good amount of cups out of it. Less exciting was the fact that the pot had a single teabag floating inside it, which I had to jiggle around quite a bit to get it to steep properly. But never mind, let’s pour into the cute china cup set, sipping hot tea, tastes okay, things are getting better…

Hang on, what’s… what’s that?

Oh.

That’s a giant smear of red lippy across the inside lip of my cup. That I just drank half a cup out of.

EUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUURRRRGGGHHHHH.

Look, food-wise maybe I chose the wrong dish, their sweets cabinet did look more enticing than any of the savoury dishes I saw floating about, and I was very tempted to give Argos a second chance by ordering the old-school sounding waffles, but after lippy cup I just felt like my goodwill had been completely drained. If you have visited yourself and can reassure me that my experience was an unfortunate aberration I’d be pleased to hear it, but as it stands I’ll be giving Argos Love Company a wide berth, cute dogs or no.

Argos Loves Company

149 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy

Ph: 9417 7290

http://www.argoslovescompany.com.au