Monday, August 20, 2007

Ten Ren's Tea Time
146 Swanston Street, Melbourne
Tel: 9653 3268

After reading Iron Eater's post on TenRen, I decided to head there for lunch with Andy.I was tempted to just go for their snacks, but my greediness hunger got the better of me, and I ended up with one of their lunch sets.

The paper placemat with Chinese writings which I have no hope of deciphering..

The ambiance of the place was pretty casual as the layout was pretty simple. The front of the shop was dedicated to tea-goods and the restaurant was a few steps behind. I was seated facing the kitchen, and noticed the chef repeatedly coming out from the kitchen to scoop rice from the rice cooker located outside the kitchen. I found it amusing that after he scooped the rice into the bowl, he had to go back into the kitchen to ring the bell indicating that the food was ready to be served.

Our drinks - Green Tea in front, and Bubble Tea at the back

This is what my lunch set looks like -

The extra side dishes were a pleasant surprise, and the egg and mixed vege combination wasn't all too bad.

What IS that white pasty-looking thing?
The chinese cabbage tasted as how stir-fried chinese cabbages would normally taste. The tofu/preserved vege combination was a strange one though. The tofu didn't quite taste like tofu and when I asked Andy what did he think the dish actually was, he told me that maybe I should just to stop eating it. haha. That was probably the only odd dish in the whole set.

The pork in itself was quite hard to chew, and quite salty. To their credit, they did try to ease up the biting challenge by cutting up the pork into chewable sizes. Taste-wise I have a feeling it may have been marinated with fermented beancurd, which probably explains the saltiness.

Yummy Jelly!
I almost forgot about the jelly till they placed it on the table.It was tea jelly with honey drizzled on top. It reminded me of the Pasar Malam "Taiwanese Healthy Jelly" (I think it's called "Ai Yu Ping" Jelly) they sell back home. The jelly on its own was pretty tasteless, so the honey complemented it well. I have been having jelly cravings; so I was very satisfied with the dessert.
: Ratings :

  • Service: 7/10 - The drinks came pretty much 3-5 minutes after we ordered, and the food didn't take too long to come either. The best part was probably when the waiter smiled and said "Thank you, have a nice day!" when we paid. Either he was really nice, or he perhaps, fancied Andy... haha XD

  • Food: 6/10 - I didn't quite like the pork, but I really enjoyed the jelly so I'm a bit torn on grading this category. The food's not superb or anything, but it is decent, so it shall get a decent grading of 6.

  • Layout: 6/10 - As mentioned, the place is pretty casual, and there's nothing too fancy about it aside from the numerous tea products you get to browse at the front of the store.

  • Overall: 6.5/10 - I'm sure Ten Ren has more potential that I'm grading it for, and with the relatively low prices, it makes a pretty decent eating destination.
p.s: A BIG Thank You to Andy for paying for lunch!

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