In Kung Fu Movies, the grand masters avoid their enemies by quickly blending into the background; maybe the Rose Garden owners have been talking with some of these guys, considering that I walked past this restaurant twice before I found it.
Rose Garden BBQ is in public view near the corner of Elizabeth and Franklin St, but you could be forgiven for passing it by. It's a veritable hole-in-the-wall restaurant, surrounded by similar looking Asian restaurants. Yet, with a whopping 810 likes and 91% approval rating on Urban Spoon, this small kitchen has a big reputation for cheap, tasty meals.
Rose Garden BBQ looks like your standard style of no frills Asian restaurant. It's cramped, and the waiters are keen for you to order, eat, and get out of there. But the bright side of this entrepreneurial energy is your food is super quick, and there are heaps of meals under $10.
Heading down for a weekday lunch will land you on a table surrounded by Chinese eaters and city corporates looking for good, inexpensive food. Rose Garden does some decent duck meals, so that's a good place if you are stuck on ordering. Otherwise there are plenty of choices on their Favourites Menu, and the more extensive Standard Menu.
We ordered a Fried Rice with Shredded Duck and a Bean Curd with Seasonal Mixed Vegetables, with both arriving very promptly in under ten minutes. Considering both our meals were around the $10 mark, the portion sizes were pretty generous.
The shredded duck was tasty, without being over-powering or fatty, although it was slightly on the saltier side. Having said that, I would have liked some more colour on my fried rice. The curd in the second dish were large, chunky, and had a nice texture. The vegetables also held a great crunch and tasted great with the sauce. The sauce, whilst tasty, was perhaps too thick.
Despite these two minor criticisms the portion sizes, and the bang-for-buck, convinced both of us that we should come back to try the other dishes.
Rose Garden BBQ is the kind of place you can go into with some loose pocket change, and be out again in less than thirty minutes. It's not a restaurant that would drag you in for a fancy meal on a Friday night, but it's not trying to be that either. What Rose Garden specialises in is cheap, filling and tasty Asian food. And these are things it does well.