Catering exclusively for the CBD lunch crowd, Paperboy is a new and very well regarded arrival on the Melbourne dining scene. When Libby suggested that we catch up there for lunch, there was every reason to go with the promise of good food
We headed there early to avoid the lunchtime crowd, and were rewarded with a relatively empty restaurant.
There are only a few seating areas, so I guess that Paperboy caters more towards take-away than dine-in, but I've always preferred the luxury of settling down and experiencing the atmosphere of a restaurant.
The menu itself is relatively simplistic; rolls and bowls are the only mains on offer. You choose whether you want a roll or a rice noodle bowl, and then choose your topping. BBQ chicken, panko fish, pulled lamb, slow-cooked beef and red-curry cauliflower are the options and all come with asian slaw, carrot-daikon pickle, sriracha-mayo and coriander.
Libby and I made our choices and sat down by the window with this cute order number for company.
So not really a number, but a pretty unique identifier to help the waitstaff figure out which order belongs to who. After an incredibly short wait of around 5 minutes, our meals were on the table.
I'd ordered the pulled lamb & hoisin rice noodle bowl.
|Pulled Lamb & Hoisin Rice Noodle Bowl|
The meal was satisfying although not spectacular in my opinion. The serving was of a decent size and they were fairly generous with the meat, but I felt there was too much reliance on the sauces to add flavour rather than doing something interesting with the meat. The noodles themselves were cooked well though being neither soggy nor too crunchy. The popcorn on the side was a eccentric touch but welcome and memorable nevertheless.
|Slow Cooked Beef Rice Noodle Bowl|
Libby ordered the slow cooked beef bowl and also seemed satisfied with her order. I took a bite and found that the beef too suffered from a lack of flavoured, but the sauces and the pho dipper (a little mug of pho-broth-style soup) made up for it.
No restaurant in Melbourne would be complete with some caffeinated offering, and Paperboy Kitchen delivers with Vietnamese style iced coffee. Perfect for a summer day (although maybe not the almost-winter that this autumn has been).
|Viet Iced Coffee|
Paperboy Kitchen is a welcome addition to the fairly lackluster, west-side CBD lunchtime dining scene and serves up filling dishes in record time. The meats themselves could do with an injection of flavour, and I would expect more for $9-$13.5 a meal. Still, with friendly and fast service and a hard-to-mess-up offering, it's not a bad lunchtime option.
320 Little Lonsdale St, Melbourne