Food and Drink


Dahon delivers the goods

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Stepping into Dahon Gourmet Tea Lounge you might think that you were in an airport cafe instead of a new Filipino establishment. The decor here is reminiscent of an American coffee chain — clean and orderly with an eager-to-take-your-order assistant watching astutely from the counter. Once you get to the counter, a whole two metres away, you might feel dubious about the possibility of getting a filling feed.

Well, you should never judge a cafe by its interior. I soon learnt that not only did Dahon serve an overwhelming range of hot and iced teas, they also had an equally abundant food offering … all of which could not be sustained in their tiny sandwich and cake fridge.

Their most popular lunch dishes are the baguettes. The staff recommend the chorizo, BBQ pork and spiced crumbed chicken varieties as the most popular of the eight choices available.

Given that I was in a non-kosher mood, I went for the BBQ Pork ($8.70), served on a lovely ceramic dish with a crusty roll (soft on the inside) and sweet barbecued pork chunks sprinkled with pickled green papaya.

As I ate it I recalled how difficult it is to find a decent gourmet sandwich for under $10 in South Melbourne (I work in the area). I washed it all down with one of their super tall gourmet iced teas, peach with fresh strawberry ($5.20).

If French rolls aren’t your thing, try the steamed rice with two meat skewers ($6.50) or the Pinkabet Filipino stew ($9.20). They also serve salads including the Lumpiang Hubad — an open spring roll with veggies, salad and garlic sauce ($8.50) as well as Filipino noodles (from $8.50) and a range of sides.

As for sweets there are enticing hot cakes (coconut, original or banana, from $6.90) or more traditional desserts like shaved ice and fruit (from $6.90) or their sweet banana spring roll ($3.50).

My standard requirements for most eateries are as follows: flavoursome, fresh and filling (and value for money based on the performance of the latter). I’m glad to say that Dahon checked them all off, especially the value for money part.

This means I will most definitely be back and I’ll be telling my friends. And as I paid and walked back to work, I realised that I would never eat a fresh, filling and well-priced meal like that at an airport.

Dahon Gourmet Tea Lounge
Shop 5, 111 Cecil Street, South Melbourne Central
South Melbourne
9696 5704
Mon – Fri 10am – 4pm
Sat 10am -9pm, Sun 10am – 4pm

Follow Jen Curcio’s culinary quests on Twitter @DecisiveCraving or ‘like’ Decisive Cravings on Facebook.

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