Food and Drink
Posted by Trish Gallagher
14. Jan, 2013
We are lucky to have an abundance of good Asian restaurants in Melbourne, there must be a list somewhere that states exactly how many, but we are never shy to throw one or two more into the mix. Opening just before Christmas comes Pepper Lunch – Japanese ‘fast food’ (no… not as fast as sushi) a nifty little restaurant that serves cook-at-your-table meals in a matter of minutes.
The first time I went to Pepper Lunch it was 40+ degrees. All I really wanted to do was plunge my head into a bucket of iced water, but I ventured in regardless thinking a nice cool Asian slaw and some sashimi might be cooling.
Forget it. All dishes are served on a cast iron plate that is heated to 260 degrees, (exactly the ‘wind heat factor’ outside) and you essentially cook your lunch before your eyes.
The counter suggested I started with ‘ a la carte beef’ ($8.90) – a mound of rice with a ball of butter buried in the middle and surrounded by very thinly sliced raw beef – a quick stir around and it’s miraculously cooked. I know this isn’t a new concept but it never gets boring.
A bit more adventurous on the second visit, I had the kimchi beef ($10.50) doused in sriracha – you can throw a few extra dollars in and get either a drink or miso soup. There is a decent menu selection: salmon, chicken, prawns and interestingly – hamburger.
Aside from tasty meals and a fresh looking yet understocked salad bar, there are two other bonuses to Pepper Lunch for mid week workers and hungry shoppers – it’s cheap and it’s super quick. The food comes out in record time (the kitchen cooks the rice – you do the rest) and starting at $8.90 it’s rare to get a hot fresh cooked lunch with change from a tenner these days.
311 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne
Mon-Wed 11.00am – 10.00pm
Thurs-sat 11.00am – 11.00pm
Sun 11.00am – 10.00pm
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