Friday, February 25, 2011

February 17, 2011: Chillipadi III

I've taken to spending the occasional evening at Club 377 engaged in high-stakes social table-tennis with some equally enthusiastic buddies. Cindy met up with us after we'd worked all our frustrations out and we decamped for dinner at nearby Chillipadi. Not much has changed since we first visited Chillipadi almost exactly four years ago. It still offers up a hodgepodge of Asian dishes (Szechuan, samosas, pad thai, laksa etc) and it still does a solid trade.  Vegetarian options are marked with a V on the menu, though there's a little ambiguity amongst the mains.

Cindy couldn't resist the chips ($7.50), and the rest of us were more than happy to help her out eating them. They're thin, crispy, liberally sprinkled with shichimi ("7 flavour chilli pepper") and utterly delicious.

Cindy ordered a healthy sounding dish that had caught my eye as well - seasonal vegetables with miso sesame paste ($14.90).

In the end this was a little disappointing - the sauce was tasty enough but the steamed vegies were a bit dull. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but it something more exciting than this. Still, it was definitely healthy, and a nice counterpoint to all of those chips.

I went for the vegetable fried koay teow (flat rice noodles with wok breath, beanshoots, chives and crispy shallots, $12.90), mostly so I could see what 'wok breath' tasted like.

Turns out wok breath is the smoky flavour that the wok's seasoning imparts on this pretty delicious stir fry. Healthy amounts of onion, capsicum, chives, tofu and egg rounded out the wok breath-infused noodles. We've started making this at home - but Chillipadi's version was probably a tad better than we've managed so far (better wok? more generous use of oil? not sure).

Chillipadi is a good bet for a quick city meal - it's moderately affordable, fresh and reasonably tasty, with functional service and plenty of space.

Read about our previous visits to Chillipadi here and here.

Lots of bloggers have given Chillipadi the thumbs up: : Melbourne Cupcakes Party, Tummyrumbles, Jules Gourmond, Love My Food and Sugar, Melbourne Gastronome, Catty, Gastronomical Voyage in Melbourne, 730 days of my life, The Glutton's Diet, Merveilles de la Nourriture.

A few have been less impressed: My Melbourne Food Blog, Mel:Hot or Not, Off the Spork.

And Fatty McBeanpole (AKA Jess) was positively scathing.

There's also a bunch of folk who have been invited to review buffet style shindigs at Chillipadi, all of whom have been pretty enthused: Pepper, Salt, Sugar, Spice, Jeroxie, Ms I-Hua, Berry Travels, I'm so Hungreeee.

Menzies Alley, Melbourne Central
9664 5688
veg mains $13-$15 (the website is cute, but the menu doesn't match the one we were actually offered, so maybe it's out of date).

Accessibility: Entry is via a half-dozen or so stairs, tables are pretty cramped, bills are paid at the counter, and the toilets are distant.


  1. I love the sound of 'wok breath'. How could you *not* order that?

  2. I have to say I'll happily go to Chillipadi for lunch, where prices are reasonable, but the dinner menu had changed to a focus on shared dishes last time I was there, and service can be distinctly patchy.

    Happy eating, wokbreathy C and M :)

  3. Indeed, Theresa!

    Duncan - nice to see you! So lunch is better, huh? Must keep that in mind when I'm in the city.