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Food Republik

Home > Melbourne > Dessert Bars | Dumpling Bars | Food and Wine | Fun for Children
by Nadine Cresswell-Myatt (subscribe)
Freelance writer exploring Melbourne and beyond. If you enjoy the following article click on the Like button, Facebook it to your friends or subscribe. I'll update you with yummy and often free events. Like my photos? I instagram @redbagwilltravel
Published November 16th 2012
Dumplings are slippery little suckers
Food Republick
Adding to Box Hill's vibrant restaurant scene

It is common in Box Hill to see new businesses enshrined with flowers.

I had never quite realised the significance until recently. Apparently it is to wish the owners luck and a prosperous future which is the reason blooms with long flowering periods are sent such as Chinese roses, red palms, yellow chrysanthemums and Bird of Paradise flowers.

Swamped with flowers

When I walked past the newly opened Food Republik it was literally swamped with blooms, so they must have had plenty of well wishers.

The first day it opened the place was dead and I thought what a shame, as someone has obviously spent the earth on outfitting this place and there were an enormous amount of staff scurrying around in their bright orange kerchiefs looking like busy ants.

But by the time I walked past an hour later, there was a queue out the door and I think that queue has been there ever since - not the same people mind you, but this place is so popular that there is always a line.

But it moves quickly

Thankfully this queue also moves incredibly quickly, so it never takes all that long to get a table.

This place serves you fast - slam, bam and in with the next party.

That is not to downgrade it in any way. This is a place for great food but not a leisurely meal.

The concept is interesting. It is hawker style food but it is like a miniature food court alongside the larger Box Hill shopping centre one.

food republik box hill
Hawker image on outside wall

There is a huge glass pane at the front, so you can see the dumpling makers in their face masks and gloves creating little parcels for you. With their get up and the tender ways it reminded me of nurses in a maternity ward showing off the newly born.

Food Republik Box Hill
Making dumplings

food Republik Box Hill
Attentive care

Food Republik Box Hill
Such care is taken

Then inside is a range of different food stalls. The focus is mainly on Taiwanese food but there are also Chinese and Japanese dishes. The stalls include Crystal Jade Xiao Long Bao, Shihlin Cafe Taiwan Street Snacks, Old Tong Beef Noodles, Shin Yeh Restaurant and Toast Box.

Unlike in a standard food court, you are presented with a menu which literally has hundreds of items on it from the various stalls. All reasonably priced.

food Republik Box Hill
The menu with hundreds of items

You simply write the numbers down on the sheets of paper provided. It is then scooped up by one of those hovering waiters.

You can order from different stalls but it all comes to your table usually in stages. So it is good if you are in a group and can share each dish so that no one gets hungry.

We had a great many dishes and they were all excellent. The huge bowl of vegetarian noodles were pounced on as were the Japanese pancakes. A lot of fun was had with the dumplings. The prawn and ginger ones we ordered were delicate little bundles and inside was a tasty soupy concoction.

After the first one squirted everywhere ( luckily I've stopped with the baby analogy), we labelled them "nip 'n suck" dumplings"

The secret is to make a tiny incision with your teeth and then suck out the juice finally getting to the prawn inside.

There is a dessert bar with endless choices but we were too full. However we did have drinks from there which looked and tasted stunning.

My son's drink was iced watermelon. While I had an iced lemon drink. Alcohol was also available.

The meal for five of us including drinks came to $79 dollars - this is because a lot of the dishes, such as dumplings, are only a few dollars. No doubt this is part of the reason this place is so popular.

Food Republik Box Hill
Gorgeous dumplings

The service was brusque but that goes with the territory. They want you in and out so they can keep things moving.

Food Republik is in many ways a novelty food court. Let's hope the novelty wears off soon so we can all get a seat.

food Republik Box Hill
Watermelon juice extravaganza

Food Republik Box Hill
Gorgeous extravagant drinks

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Why? Because some things are worth queueing for.
When: Lunch and dinner 7 days a week
Phone: 9898 6669
Where: 1 Main St Box Hill
Cost: Under $15 a head
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