Cookie Decorator of Gingerbread Corner (www.gingerbreadcorner.com.au) | Felt creator of Born To Be Felt (borntobefelt.com)| Yoga Teacher | Blogger | A firm believer in choosing your own life
Published May 3rd 2017
Under new management and reputation is on the rise
On a lazy Sunday afternoon, feeling a bit peckish for some lunch, I headed down High St, to the busy shopping strip in Ashburton to visit the traditional Chinese restaurant Tong Lok. If you are looking for a quieter dining experience, a Sunday lunchtime is probably the best time slot for you. On this particular Sunday, there was only one other table being occupied and so we had our pick of where we wanted to sit. However, if you are looking for the atmosphere of a typical Chinese restaurant, then peak times during the dinner sessions on Friday, Saturday or Sunday are probably more up your alley.
For our lunchtime, dining experience we were lucky enough to have the chef Kei Lam as our waiter as well. Kei Lam is a super friendly and efficient cook. He took our order and went behind the curtain and whipped out our dishes and even anticipated our needs by bringing us steamed rice when we forgot to order it to go with our hot and tasty dishes. Kei Lam started his cooking adventure in China, moving to Hong Kong then to Japan and finally to Australia where he has worked in many Chinese restaurants around Victoria.
On this occasion, we started our lunch with the eight-piece fried wonton with sweet and sour sauce dip. It was nice, warm and crispy. The filling was one small prawn, so the are small enough to have before you start on the real hearty meal at hand.
The mains were all quiet large, so I do suggest sharing a few dishes with a side of steamed rice, fried rice or one of the noodle dishes to pair with them. For our main, we ordered the Chicken with Satay chicken and the Buddha Delight as a vegetarian dish, which was a lovely mix of Bok Choy and a variety of mushrooms. The chicken was nicely cooked and I would have to say the satay sauce made the chicken dish my favourite for the day. All the vegetables tasted really fresh, the chef had that skill of making sure the vegetables were cooked just long enough to absorb all the flavours of the sauces and spices whilst maintaining its fresh look and crunchy texture.
The service was certainly quick and even though Kei was both cooking and serving us, the food came out in a very reasonable time and our Chinese tea stayed refilled. I would say the experience was a pleasant surprise. From the outside you might think this was a basic Chinese takeaway shop, however, the quality would hold up against your larger Chinese Restaurants around Chinatown in Melbourne which is a rare find in the suburbs and for a very reasonable price. Entrees start from $4.50 onwards, whilst for the main menu you are looking at $15-$25 for the larger sharing plates, seafood options being the more expensive prices.
The restaurant is in a great location, opposite the Ashburton train station. This means there will be a lot of after workers stopping off for a feed and possibly wanting takeaway which is also available and as an added bonus dishes are about $2 cheaper if you choose this option.
Overall, a really down to earth restaurant with good quality food. I look forward to trying out more of the other dishes on the menu, especially the duck!