Since our office move a couple of months back I've been continuing to explore the food options around the neighbourhood (while missing Sonido and Smith & Deli of course). I had a tip-off from a mate that Kitchen Inn had a surprisingly decent range of vegetarian options, so I dropped by to check it out. It's a short menu section with just five dishes, featuring Kitchen Inn's house-made noodles, rice, vegetables and - in all five dishes - vegetarian BBQ pork. Each dish is super affordable - just $8.90, for plates so big you'll struggle to finish them. Vegans will be well served by most of the options (the egg noodle dish is a no-go, obviously), but will need to let the staff know to exclude the egg that comes standard in dishes like the fried kueh teow and fried rice (I failed in the noodle dish on the left below, but excluded the egg successfully from the fried rice on the right).
The fried kueh teow was fantastic - excellent noodles, wok-fried to give them a smoky wok-hei and filled with a generous mix of mock-pork, egg and veggies. The fried rice was good as well - not quite as successful as the noodles, but a fantastically good value lunch, especially with a few scoops of chilli oil on top.
Kitchen Inn is a bit of a madhouse at lunchtime - if you get there at 12pm or later, you're probably going to have to queue for a while and/or share a table. They do offer takeaway if you'd rather just take your mock pork to the park or your desk. Kitchen Inn has quickly found its way into my regular lunch rotation - I'm keen to work my way through all the veggie noodle dishes on the menu.
There are broadly positive reviews on Easy Food Hacks, Eat and Be Merry for Tomorrow We Die(t), Let's Get Fat Together, Kimba's Kitchen, Asian Restaurants in Melbourne, What's My Next Meal?, The Hangry Bitch, Gastronomic Gems, Arrow Foodie, Strawbeari3, Consider the Sauce, Oh Denny and Lip's Temptations, while Sweet and Sour Fork, Wandering Mint and The Bonding Tool had mixed experiences. Yellow Eggs was really unimpressed (on both visits!), as was New International Students.
469 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne
Accessibility: There's a small lip on the door. The interior is very crowded, with people and tables - there are outdoor tables as well that are a bit simpler to nab a seat at. You order and pay at a high counter and they bring the food out. I haven't visited the toilets.