Pepper Lunch, CBD

3/23/2013 , , 0 Comments

Pepper Lunch is located right on the corner of Elizabeth and Little Lonsdale St, pretty close to Melbourne Central. The restaurant is of japanese cuisine, though different to your typical bentos, dons and noodles. There are three main sections to choose from: the pepper rice, steak, or combo. All dishes come on a iron dish like that of a teppanyaki style, with the temperature at 260 degrees (celcius) when the dish comes to you. As such, you can then cook the raw meat to whatever extent you wish.

As these types of dishes are most likely unfamiliar to most, the menu comes with photos of every dish, so you know what is in it, and can choose whichever sounds most appetising to you. We decided to order the Beef Pepper Rice ($8.90), and for 50c extra got an egg on top, as well as miso soup for another $2.65. You could choose between miso soup or soft drink for extras, and besides egg, you could also have cheese or kimchi on the rice. The other dish we ordered was the 'Hitokuchi Cut' Steak ($11), which for an extra $3.95 included both a bowl of chips and miso soup. Alternatively, you could have chosen a bowl of rice instead of chips, and a soft drink instead of the soup. 

The dishes are definitely value for money, with good portions that left you feeling full by the end. The Beef Pepper Rice felt a little bland even with the pepper on top, but was significantly improved after the addition of some sauce. That, together with the combination of the corn, egg and beef went really well to give a dish that was satisfying and not too dense. 

The steak came with a little portion of butter on top to spread on top, and to give it that extra flavour. The dish itself was surrounded by a layer of paper, partly to prevent the oil spitting out onto you, and also doubled as instructions on how to cook the meat. Unfortunately for me, too busy trying to obtain a good shot of the dish, left the meat cooking away for a little too long, and meant my steak was slightly overcooked and tough to eat. As the plate was so hot, the meat cooked really quickly, so if you left it for ever a minute, it could overcook. 

Each table came with a few different sauces you could add to your dish, including a sweet sauce and a garlic sauce. After experimenting with both, I found the garlic sauce went quite well with my steak, and made up for the overcooked meat. This steak dish also came with beans, carrots, and plenty of bean sprouts that were full of flavour, as they soaked up the jucies from the meat and oil. The miso soup had lots of miso flavour, and apart from the typical seaweed and tofu, also came with long beancurd strips, which was a nice surprise. The chips were quite crunchy, but a little on the salty side, perhaps due to the pepper and salt that it was covered in. 

I definitely recommend this restaurant for either lunch or dinner, as there is a great range to choose from. Apart from beef, there are also chicken and salmon as a base, as well as kimchi for those who prefer spicy. The dishes are also more on the healthier side, with minimal oil used and a good balance of vegetables to go with the meat. For the most part, the prices aren't too bad, but for an additional $2.65 for miso soup or a soft drink to go with the pepper rice dishes felt a little pricey.


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