Rose Garden BBQ Shop
435 Elizabeth St
(Take any Elizabeth St tram and stop at Franklin St)
Telephone: 03 9329 1560
Opening Hours: Mon-Sat 11am - 9pm
Like a Melbourne restaurant hidden away so no one but those in the 'know' can find it.
And like a tiny Chinese restaurant/take-away that does so much business you wonder why they don't...spruce up.
Rose Garden is tiny. And sandwiched between two restaurants with bright orange facades (one with neon lettering even) so I've walked past it many times even when I'm looking for it.
The format here is very similar to all the other HK-type eateries in the city. You enter, pick a combination of your 'dish' with rice, e.g. "BBQ pork on rice" or "Pig stomach in black pepper with rice" (the latter is a real winner of a combination by the way), and everything is priced below $10. Simple.
The only difference is that the food here is so much better than the perfunctory, fill-your-belly student fare that you usually get closer to the beaten track (a.k.a. Swanston St). It's authentic, fast, fresh, and just goddamn generous.
I usually come here for takeaway, because
a. I live nearby, and
b. Seating, as you may observe, is very limited
Most people get the spicy chicken ribs on rice ($8.30), which, I gather, is their true specialty despite the roast meats hanging in the window and indeed, despite the name of the restaurant. Which doesn't mean that they don't do a mean BBQ - they do, and it runs out really quickly (hence the unorthodox early closing time for an Asian student-centred joint), but the chicken ribs are just...
As you can see, I get mine topped up with roast pork anyway, for an extra $5.
With a serving of won tons (four plump parcels in a bowl of actual soup) ($4.20). I prefer these to the limp and emaciated ones I've had at Camy.
Bliss. And much-needed nourishment for many a quick and comfy dinner at home.