Saturday, April 13, 2013

Fu Manchu


As an amateur food blogger, I am constantly looking for new and exciting places to try. Fusion / Westernised Asian food has swept over the food shores of Melbourne and is slowly taking over the Mexicraze. Fu Manchu happened to be on the top of my Must-Eat List after I read an article on Broadsheet. I thoroughly enjoy reading Broadsheet food articles, but was rather disappointed by this misleading one by Hannah Bambra. Fu Manchu is local, but far from 'affordable' and 'healthy'. 


  1. Firstly, between three adults and a child, the bill was $91.50. Must I remind you that this café / restaurant is located in Preston, not Toorak or Brighton. I was pretty shocked when I received the bill, and when I looked over it, I noticed they had charged us for an extra coffee that we didn't even order. I was already annoyed at the fact that they forgot my chai latte. So she gave me the difference in cash and it worked out to be $88 instead.
  2. Secondly, it is eminent that Vietnamese food is inexpensive. You can eat for two people and it would probably cost you under $20. Coming from a Vietnamese background, I know the authenticity of the flavours and the expectation of food expense. A bowl of pho for $14? Get out of town. 
  3. Thirdly, as I am sitting on my desk writing this post, I am drinking a large ice water to wash down the salty taste of my meal. You would expect that salty 'quality' of food from Vietnamese food vendors on High Street, where they use copious amounts of MSG.

WITH THAT BEING SAID... I do appreciate Marten Chu's efforts on creating fusion food in the Northern suburbs, mixing Western with Vietnamese. Everyone who lives in the North would know that we don't have much to offer when it comes to food strips or shopping centres. The night life is rather boring, as there are no coffee vendors or interesting things to do apart from Pancake Parlour at Northland? Ehhh I think I'll pass on that.

The cafe itself is a very spacious area, it's family friendly and the interior is extremely appealing to the eye. There are gorgeous teapots on shelves, mini trees with ornaments and paintings along the wall, nothing unusual you would expect nowadays. The food culture in Melbourne is continuously striving to be better and more interesting to gain a competitive advantage. Fu Manchu has this down pat, but probably will need to work on the delivery of their food.

The waiters were helpful and sweet BUT they need to be more aware of the customers wants... and they need to communicate with each other more often. As I mentioned earlier, I ordered a chai latte after my main order, but it never got through to the barista so I didn't get it until the food came out. It wasn't that full of people inside but the wait for the coffee and food was quite lengthy. I'm a very impatient person so this didn't make me very happy. A vietnamese iced coffee was $5... so I'm glad I didn't order that or else my mum would have a bad opinion about it (she can make it at home for me for free).



Fu Manchu is relatively new, a month old I'm assuming? I'm sure a lot of Westerns in the area will enjoy something new and exciting to visit for dinner, but I probably wouldn't go back anytime soon. Before I went to eat, I read a couple of reviews on Urbanspoon and they have all mentioned similar things in terms of the good and bad things. Fu Manchu have a lot to work on, but I know in the future it will be very popular and maybe then I'll be willing to return.


We were given three different menus; one for breakfast, lunch and beverages. Fu Manchu serve breakfast up until 12pm before they switch over to lunch. I was lucky enough to order something from the breakfast menu, five minutes before they stopped serving it.

Grilled and Glazed Quail - $10.00
This is one quail cut in half... and it costed me ten bucks. They definitely got this right though - even if there wasn't a lot of sauce, the skin was soft and the meat was full of flavour as soon as you took a bite. Captain Baxter's quail was a bit too salty for my liking, but Fu Manchu should put this on their favourite dish list! If you haven't tried duck or quail I strongly suggest you head to your nearest Asian restaurant and do so immediately. 

Large latte - $4.00
I didn't get to try this but it's great that a large latte was four bucks. It took a really really really long time for this to come out though. The baristas there really need to up their pace.

Brown sugar with the latte. I love the natural bokeh of this photo hehe.

I wish someone would paint something this on my wall. 
It was absolutely beautiful to look at and to touch. 
Prawn Spring Rolls - Six pieces for $13
The size of this dish was excellent. Not to small and not too big. It wasn't crispy as a normal springroll so it didn't have the *CRUNCH* as soon as you bit into it. It was a bit pricey... working out to be $2.16~ each. If you go to a Buddhist temple, they generally sell FOUR vegetarian spring rolls for wun dollar ($1) and it's always crispy and fresh. 

The nuoc mam, which on the menu says nuoc cham (translation: dipping sauce), is basically fish sauce with a bit of peanuts in there. If you're Caucasian, I'd suggest you go here with a Vietnamese friend to help you translate some of the dishes hehe. 

Sweet Corn and Zucchini Fritter with crispy bacon, spinach and sweet chilli jam - $16.00 from memory
I don't usually eat fritters so I didn't know what to expect. Although it looks like a small serving in this picture, it was a decent size and actually makes you full really quickly. Basically a fritter is just a savoury pancake, but a good one indeed. The batter wasn't too undercooked, so it was fluffy in the middle but crispy on the outside. My sister ordered this one, and said it was a bit too salty. At least we didn't have to pay extra for the bacon.

Something off topic - how cool is the plate ????????????? 

A traditional Vietnamese dish - Bo Luc Lac - $24.00
This dish uses scotch fillet which was tender and flavoursome. Presentation was fantastic - as you can see the tomatoes and shredded lettuce was organised nicely. Just one question... got rice? You would think that by spending $24 on a dish, that warrants a serving of rice...... not at Fu Manchu. A small bowl of Jasmine rice is $3.00 and you must order it separately. The waiters should have the decency to ask if the person ordering if they would like some rice?

My dish! Eggs benedict - $15.00
This dish was nothing special, and it was my fault for ordering it anyway. In my head I really wanted to try Com Tam (broken rice, my favourite) but I couldn't justify spending $19 on it... knowing I can get a quality dish on High Street for half the price. I hadn't eaten poached eggs for a while anyway.

The thing that I enjoyed the most was the homemade hollandaise sauce. It smelt really buttery but it melted as soon as I put it on the hot eggs and gypsy ham. The thing that stuck me as odd was that one egg was runny as soon as I cut into it but the other egg was solid. I don't know how to poach an egg myself, so I'll try it out before I make an opinion about that.

My instagram (@badasiandriver) picture of my 'Calmer Sutra' chai latte - $4.00
I've probably mentioned this before but my favourite Chai Latte was at Little Creatures Dining Hall. It was fun to drink (as it came from a separate teapot) and honey was also provided. This chai latte was delicious and not too bland which I enjoyed :)

Runny egg yolk. It tastes so good with sourdough toast.
Cute vase with ornaments and longans hanging off it. Very unique.

I loved the vibe but hated the pricing. I haven't been to Miss Chu yet but I've heard extremely good things about it.
Maybe next time I'll go to Fu Manchu for dinner instead.


Fu Manchu
Address: 2 Gilbert Road Preston 3072
Contact: 9484 8686
Hours: Tuesday - Sunday, 8am to late (9:30pm/10pm)
Price: $$$ and a half
Website: no website yet.
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Fumanchupreston

Fu Manchu on Urbanspoon

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