Melbourne Restaurant Reviews: The Very Very Hungry Caterpillar

YES, this is yet another Melbourne food blog!

Dahon Gourmet Tea Lounge

Shop 5/111 Cecil Street
South Melbourne VIC 3205
+61 3 9696 5704

It seems like Melbourne in February has been been hotter than those photos of Kate Moss and Rhianna. Not that I was here for most of last week to experience the heat in person (vicariously through Facebook and Twitter is enough for me, thanks). Nevertheless, I could still remember the day Daisy and I went to the Swiss Festival a couple of weekends ago in sweltering heat. The sun’s wrath may have deterred a lot of patrons from attending but we soldiered on and left with a can of Choclo, waffles with strawberries and chocolate, a raclette and an interview with a journo from a German online magazine (you can pretend to understand German while gawking at our faces here). After we had enough of the sun, we decided to grab some food at Dahon Gourmet Tea Lounge, a Filipino restaurant-slash-tea lounge in South Melbourne.

Now I don’t much about Filipino food – okay, I lie. I know NOTHING. Serves me right for not buying Adrian’s book, hey (Adrian, I promise I’ll buy it soon!). But I do know that Dahon has been popular with the Melbourne blogosphere for quite some time now so it was only right that I suss it out that weekend. It was pretty quiet when we arrived, which meant that our teas arrived at our table only a few minutes after I placed our order at the counter.

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While Daisy went for the citrus tea, I chose the apple tea ($5.20 each). Our teas were a godsend on such a hot day – and the fact that they both tasted delicious didn’t hurt either!

wp2Because the cheese and potatoes in our raclette had half-filled our stomachs, we didn’t want to have a full-on lunch. So we shared two skewers and a pork roll. Oh, and a couple of desserts. Phew.

But back to the skewers. Because we ordered a pork roll, we decided to go all chicken with the skewers. There were two kinds of chicken skewers, the chicken adobo and the chicken inasal. I didn’t know what the difference between the two were so we ordered both. While they were both very good, I decided that I liked the tanginess of the inasal better than the abodo, which was sweeter.

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Then came our BBQ pork roll ($8.70), split in half for sharing. The roll, which I thought looked a bit like a Vietnamese pork roll, might not have looked imposing but it was filling. It tasted delicious too – the pork pieces were coated in a lovely, sweet marinade and I loved how it tasted against the buttered bread.

At this point, the place started filling up with Filipino customers – probably looking for a post-church meal. We had ordered our dessert along with our roll and skewers but it still hadn’t arrived, even after we had long-finished our savouries. I got up to ask the girl at the counter if our halo halo was on the way and she replied in the affirmative.

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It did take them another 15 minutes or so but finally, our halo halo ($7.80) arrived. The pretty-looking structure, which made me think of that Cat Empire song, was made out of shaved ice and reminded me of the Malaysian es kacang.

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It tasted just as good too. Our version contained a medley of nata de coco, palm seeds, jackfruit, coconut, mangoes and jellies. Delicious.

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Our last dessert (which we ordered at the spur of the moment) was the Sans Rival cashew meringue cake ($3-something). It was stickier than the meringues I grew up with and obviously nuttier (a good thing!). I did find it a bit on a sweet side though.

Dahon is a much-welcomed addition to South Melbourne’s brunch scene. There’s only so many times I can drink lattes and eat eggs before I get over it so I’m glad that there is a place I can enjoy a post-market pork baguette and tea in. I’m not sure if Dahon’s food is super-authentic, however I reckon the massive influx of Filipino patrons is testament to Dahon’s food being on the awesome side.

Dahon Tea Lounge on Urbanspoon

14 Comments on Dahon Gourmet Tea Lounge

  1. Catherine
    February 26, 2013 at 09:03 (1 year ago)

    I’ve been wanting to visit for the desserts! Never tried filo food before either, such a noob I am!!

    Reply
  2. Hannah
    February 26, 2013 at 11:07 (1 year ago)

    I’m actually not joking when I say that I can’t remember what heat feels like. I feel like I’ve lived in epic winter forever. What is it like to go outside not wearing thermals and a $300 winter jacket and mittens? I fear I’ll never know again.

    And I want the halo halo.

    Reply
  3. Daisy@Nevertoosweet
    February 26, 2013 at 11:12 (1 year ago)

    You’re super quick Libs :) Thanks again for going to the Swiss Fest with me I had so much fun hehe but it was way too hot for my liking >_< I loveeeeeee the Halo Halo and would love to go back for another one ~

    Reply
    • libishski
      February 28, 2013 at 14:53 (1 year ago)

      Haha yeah, trying to churn out as many Melbourne posts as I can so that I can get started on a bunch of QLD ones, then Indonesia ones. Oh man, March is going to be a crazy month!

      Reply
  4. Retep Eel
    February 26, 2013 at 13:43 (1 year ago)

    Went to Dahon back in 2011; was satisfied with the overall quality of the food and value for money.
    Unfortunately, there aren’t that many options available in Melbourne for Filipino cuisine. Apparently, there are heaps of options in the Noble Park area; would love to try some lechon/sisig!

    Reply
    • libishski
      February 28, 2013 at 14:52 (1 year ago)

      Yeah, all the Filo restaurants seem to be out of the way for me… Footscray, Dandenong and even Cairns haha!

      Reply
  5. Iron Chef Shellie
    February 27, 2013 at 12:55 (1 year ago)

    Such vibrant photos!
    Yes you must by Adrian’s book, he is an award winning cookbook writer now!! :P
    Love Dahon and the pork….mmmmmm

    Reply
  6. The Squishy Monster
    February 27, 2013 at 16:29 (1 year ago)

    I’m diggin’ the new look! Loooove me some halo halo, always reminds me a bit of Patbingsu =)

    Reply
    • libishski
      February 28, 2013 at 14:51 (1 year ago)

      Thank you! The layout still needs a bit of work but I think it reads a lot easier compared to the old site and I’m pretty happy with it so far :)

      Reply
  7. Ashley
    February 27, 2013 at 20:28 (1 year ago)

    Man, I still need to visit! Iced teas would have perfect in the past week! Roll looks great :)

    Reply
  8. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella
    February 28, 2013 at 19:46 (1 year ago)

    Wouldn’t it be great if Filipino food was the next big food? Spearheaded by Adrian of course! :D

    Reply
  9. leaf (the indolent cook)
    March 2, 2013 at 13:10 (1 year ago)

    I’ve been meaning to lunch here for ages but still haven’t gotten around to it. I don’t know much about Filipino food either, so this would be a good starting place!

    Reply
  10. msihua
    March 2, 2013 at 20:11 (1 year ago)

    I love Dahon and not just cause I know Cherrie. I love the food here!

    Reply
  11. Ames
    March 10, 2013 at 21:07 (1 year ago)

    *sigh* I’ve been meaning to visit for so long but I rarely get a chance to head out in that direction… that halo halo looks great for this kinda of weather :)

    Reply

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