Our mate Gill recently tipped us off about Melbourne Wok, an uninspiringly named restaurant in the strip of Indian and Korean places on Bourke Street. In spite of its bold promise to provide 'Everything Asian', Melbourne Wok seems like a Malaysian-Indian place, offering banana leaf curries for lunch and a wider range of noodles etc at dinner time.
We stopped by for a quick lunch on a Saturday, joining a decent crowd of other people keen for the banana leaf experience. At lunchtime your basic choice is vego ($10.90) or non-vego ($12.90) - you get rice, four curries, a raita and a pappadum all served up on a banana leaf. The traditional approach is to eat it all with your fingers - we watched some experts work their way through the meal dexterously, but decided that we'd wind up smearing pumpkin all over ourselves so we opted for cutlery.
Cindy kicked things off with a fancy drink - a sirap (rose cordial, $3.40) - a strong and sweet accompaniment to the curry lunch.
The vego curries on our visit were a dry spicy cabbage dish, a dal, a smooth pumpkin curry and the star of the show - a delightful spicy/sticky eggplant dish. This was a fabulous lunch - a great mix of flavours that really highlighted the excellence of South Indian vego food. I'm not sure how much they rotate the lunchtime selections, but the eggplant really is fantastic - hopefully it's always on offer.
Melbourne Wok is a great addition to the CBD's lunch options - cheap, fast and delicious with friendly staff. The fit-out is pretty basic and there's not a whole lot of atmosphere, but it's the perfect place to drop by for a speedy lunch. We're looking forward to heading back to try out the veggie nasi lemak on the dinner menu.
164 Bourke Street, Melbourne
0433 738 989
menu (via Zomato)
Accessibility: Entry is flat and wide and the interior is reasonably spacious. We ordered at our table and paid at a low counter. We didn't visit the toilets.