Box Hill Centro at number 1 Main Street in Box Hill, in my opinion, could do with a revamp. The internal area needs the deft hands of a planner and interior decorator to make it more inviting and to bring it all together. It seems to be a mish mash of shops without the warmth or charm of a well organised shopping centre. Box Hill Central seems to be made up of two parts. The main shopping area and another building out the back when you walk out past the food hall area. Just as the eateries of Eaton Mall is decidedly Greek flavoured and Springvale Central, Vietnamese, Box Hill Central to me is Chinese influenced.
Travelator from the upstairs carpark and Box Hill train station by McDonalds near the food hall.
However, the one thing that keeps bringing me back is my favourite cafe Grain Asia that I think is an absolute gem, with consistently good food. I park upstairs where it's just a dollar to park for the day, but if you're catching the train to the Box Hill station, the entrance is conveniently located just off the food hall in the main building itself.
Grain Asia Cafe for tasty Chinese meals for around $10 on average
Grain Asia is the place that tempts me back time and again. They're always busy and the food is delicious. The prawn dumpling soup without the noodles has plump satisfying prawn meat in the dumpling pastry and the stock is very tasty. In the display counter they also sell Pao filled with pork or chicken, and various sticky rice parcels filled again with a variety of meats, wrapped in a banana leaf for the customers who want to pick up a snack on the run.
You can also pick and choose a variety of yong tofu to take home and add to your home made broth for a quick easy dinner. Its around $1.20 per piece or $10 for 11 pieces. I have done that many a time, picking out my favourites (its a paste of various seafood sandwiched between eggplant, lotus root, capsicum, tofu and so on) and putting it into my home made clear chicken soup with lots of ginger and garlic to keep the winter blues away.
I have tried quite a few of their meals and so far I've not been unhappy with any of my choices. I like to shock some of my uninitiated friends and order the chickens feet. Fun! I tell them when they're done with their meal, they can pick their teeth with the toenails. The looks on their faces; priceless! There is free hot Chinese tea and water that sit on a counter, along with chilli and sauces at a table you can help yourself to. There is also a Grain Asia Dessert bar across the cafe, but I've never been able to tear myself away from the cafe to try any of their desserts.
Food Republic, a corner with a variety of food shops you can order directly from the one table.
Highlighting just a few of my foodie places as follows, theres also Food Republik which has a few food shops and Desert Story (I love the variety of Taiwanese and Hong Kong desserts). You will be brought the menus from the shops you want to eat, and you just order from your table without having to walk up to each individual shop to order or pay.
Pancake Village make a variety of savoury asian influenced pancakes for around 6 or 7 dollars
As there always seems to be a huge gathering in front of Rainbow chicken I thought I'd try a few tasty morsels from their shop. I tried their spicy ox tongue skewer (I know, first chickens feet, now ox tongue and I think I'll go back for the pork tripe skewer another time), and chicken and vegetable burek and bought some almond milk and dark plum syrup to drink. The plum was a definite favourite with my daughter and myself, but she wins first choice everytime.
Food Master for Chinese medicines and medicinal soups among other things.
Last but not least, my favourite place to stop on the way out before I get on the travelator, the Happy Bar. It sure makes me feel very happy to buy a large (large milkshake size cup) freshly squeezed juice for $5.50. They don't add ice, so if you like your drinks cold, it won't be. What you get is your moneys worth of fresh fruit juice. I like to feel all healthy for the winter and add ginger and beetroot to my orange and melons. Go for a food safari and challenge your taste buds at Box Hill. Its not just within the centre; its a paradise of restaurants outside as well.
If you're driving home or coming via Whitehorse road (Maroondah Highway), its dotted with many speciality shops you can visit i.e. Billy Hyde and Brand Smart to name a couple of many other shops that are well worth a visit.