Outcome: Majority Verdict
Ratio decidendi: Even though the tomato-eyness of the tomato rice seems to have slipped over the years, the smoky flavour of the grilled chicken has no peer in Melbourne. Oh and the pork chop /w broken rice is pretty solid too.
Salient features: flame grilled chicken /w tomato rice, pork chop /w broken rice
Case note: With all the development that’s gone on in Springvale, you’re even less likely now to stumble across this place unless someone brings you here. Tucked away in the alley beside the multi-storey carpark (in the seemingly unnamed laneway between Buckingham ave and Springvale Rd), don’t be surprised to find queues out the door during peak lunch hour.
I first loved this place for its tomato rice – as a carb-lover, I could eat bowl after bowl of the stuff and need nothing more to be happy. Over the years though the intensity of the tomato flavouring has really dwindled but thankfully the smoky flavour of the grilled chicken has held up enough to keep this dish special.
Back during my student days when it wouldn’t be uncommon for me to eat here multiple days in a row, and after a change from tomato rice, I used to order the pork chop /w broken rice. Then and now, I find to be as solid as any other I have tried.
Obiter dicta: broken rice is one of those uncanny things which can attract a premium today – for what started out in a ‘poor man’s bowl’.