Penne 4 Your Thoughts

Penne Cole's thoughts on food, travel and more

Crispy-licious eggplant at Lee Ho Fook, Melbourne


Scampi cracker, green chilli and yuzu salt

Dining alone kinda sucks. More so if you have to do it week after week. Such is the not-so glamorous side of a travelling consultant’s lifestyle. So it was a real treat when my waiter mentioned that they do half portions – the holy grail of a solo diner. To top it off, the chef at Melbourne’s Lee Ho Fook noticed that I was a solo diner and comped me a treat with a portion of the scampi cracker. The waitress said he dines solo himself sometimes, and wants to encourage people to do it more – I’m not complaining! The scampi was deliciously crunchy, although I couldn’t really taste the yuzu salt after I’d squeezed the lemon over it. But the highlight was how amazingly tender the scampi itself was, not cooked to death like your average fish and chips. Bravo to the chef.


Crispy eggplant, spiced red vinegar

The star of the show was undoubtedly the house specialty crispy eggplant with spiced red vinegar. Biting into it, the crispy shards of the outer layer gave way to the pillowy soft eggplant inside. Meanwhile, there was a taste sensation going off in my mouth – sweet, tangy, and savoury all at the same time. When paired with the texture, I can easily say this is the best eggplant dish I’ve ever had. I’m salivating just thinking about it.


Xinjiang spiced lamb ribs, cumin caramel, cashew nut butter and baby cos

My final dish was the Xinjiang spiced lamb. The lamb, my waiter explains to me, has been slow cooking for hours on the rib, then sliced off and stir fried with spices. He directs me to eat it sang choi bao style. Nothing for it but to get stuck in with my hands and it was gloriously messy. The juice went everywhere and my napkin at the end of the meal would be enough to make the laundromat cry. My main complaint was that the lamb slices were too big – much too large to stuff in my mouth, especially with the baby cos to contend with as well. I ended up just stuffing the lamb in my mouth and chewing for five minutes straight – for a slow cooked lamb, it really wasn’t any where near as tender as it should be. Good thing I was dining alone, because there wouldn’t have been much conversation going on around that mouth full of lamb!

Would I go back? Lee Ho Fook is not your typical greasy Chinese takeaway restaurant. This is Chinese fine dining. This is a delicious play on tastes and textures. So yes, absolutely. If only for that crispy eggplant!

Practical Information

Lee Ho Fook

11-13 Duckboard Place

Melbourne, 3000

03 9077 6261

Open for lunch Mon – Fri from noon to 2.30pm, and for dinner Monday to Sunday from 6 – 11pm. Closed on public holidays.


6 comments on “Crispy-licious eggplant at Lee Ho Fook, Melbourne

  1. Hannah (BitterSweet)
    October 7, 2016

    I’m drooling over here. It’s so hard to find truly crispy eggplant, but this looks flawless! What I would give for a heaping plateful right now…

    • Penne Cole
      October 8, 2016

      Oh it was truly truly crispy. I’m drooling just thinking about it!

  2. polianthus
    November 14, 2016

    HI Penne – love your intro a bit of a foodie – seems like a lot of a foodie. There seems to be some great eating going on in Melbourne! thanks for popping by my blog, and commenting, appreciate I made you laugh. Tiny things are tedious but they do look so very pretty – Happy Monday Poli

    • Penne Cole
      November 14, 2016

      Haha I would love to travel more, but work has me going to Melbourne every week, so I take pleasure in the things I can!

      • polianthus
        November 14, 2016

        Good for you! Enjoy Melbourne, at least we know, the food is good 🙂

      • Penne Cole
        November 15, 2016

        Oh Melbourne is definitely a great city to visit if you’re a foodie!

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This entry was posted on October 5, 2016 by in Australia, Food, Restaurant reviews and tagged , , , .
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