Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Queen Street Rescue

I'm always on the lookout for good restaurants close to work, mainly because there's a distinct lack of them on the western side of Elizabeth St. I was therefore pleasantly surprised when I caught up with a friend for lunch at the relatively new Queen Street Rescue and had a better than decent meal for a reasonable price.

Queen Street Rescue is tucked underneath a hotel and caters to both walk-in customers and room service. What they serve is anything but the bland food you expect with hotel meals thankfully and what we ate was both high quality and somewhat unusual.  A relatively small restaurant, it somehow finds space to include a well-stocked bar that would be busy come Friday night.

Queen Street Rescue
The space is cool without being overly pretentious, and decorated beautifully with dark wooden tables and books lining the wall.

Queen Street Rescue
The only thing marring the image was a large TV mounted on a wall, but this was turned off within 10 minutes of us sitting down so someone must have had the same opinion we did.

Queen Street Rescue
What matters more to me of course is the food. While there are tempting breakfast and lunch menus, with egg, toast, pizza, pasta, salads, burgers and a variety of other mains on offer, what really caught our attention was the lunch specials board; Warm Thai Beef Salad, Fish & Chips, Club Sandwich or Chilli Pork Belly Risotto on offer for $13? That definitely sounded like the way to go.

We decided to split something heavy and something light (the salad and risotto), but thought an appetizer would fill us up if the $13 serves turned out to be small.

Soft Shell Tacos with Tiger Prawns
The Soft Shell Tacos with garlic & herb tiger prawns, avocado salsa, coriander & lime turned out to fresh and delicious. Sure the tortillas were a little on the thick side, but the generous serve of fresh prawns and avocadoes meant any unhappiness was quickly blown away. Coming in a at $6.25 a taco, I could have happily eaten two plates myself. 

Not that I did of course. One out of two of the mains was just as good so I didn't order a double serve of tacos after all. 

Chilli Pork Belly Risotto
The first thing we noticed was that they hadn't skimped on serving size - this dish was definitely main-sized. I've never seen a pork belly risotto, in this case accompanied with tomato, sambal, spinach, mushrooms and sesame seeds, but trying this dish makes me wonder why it's not more popular. The pork belly pieces are small enough to add flavour, texture and delicious fat to the dish, but aren't obtrusive enough to overwhelm the other flavours. The sambal adds a nice, if fairly strong, kick, so for those who can't take spicy foods at all, I don't recommend this dish. 

Warm Thai Beef Salad
The Warm Thai Beef Salad (with tomato, cucumber, mint, spring onion, coriander, chilli and soy and lime dressing) wasn't nearly as impressive but was still fairly decent. The beef was a little tough, and slices were on the large side, but once again the serve was generous. I quite liked the how refreshing the dressing as well.

The food was great, the price was reasonable and the service was both friendly and informative. My only complaint (if anything) is that the service is a bit slow, but this somehow added to the atmosphere rather than being an annoyance. I wouldn't visit Queen Street Rescue if you're squeezing in a quick lunch though - you're better off savouring the escape from work and enjoying the wonderful food, slowly.

Queen Street Rescue
1/189 Queen Street, Melbourne
Mon-Fri 630am-late, Sat-Sun 730am-late

Queen Street Rescue on Urbanspoon