Uni Square Cafe, Carlton

Every now and then I would reminisce about university days, I did spend a good 6 years of my life there after all. Yuye had been craving for ‘sar hor fun’ for quite some time and specifically the ones at Uni Square Cafe right next to the law building at the University of Melbourne. As he studied in the ICT building and I would visit him nearly every day, we ate at Uni Square Cafe a fair bit back in the day. Even though it doesn’t have the greatest rating on Urbanspoon, we somehow liked it as it reminded us of those days when oily and cheap food was the normal daily diet.

We decided to head back there after a number of years to see if it had changed owners and to refresh our memories of the seemingly great food we had then. As it turned out, the owner and chef was still the same person. As soon as he saw Yuye, they started chatting like old friends about what he has been up to and why no one he knew visited the restaurant any more. It has been a few years since we graduated so of course less and less of those familiar faces showed up (not to mention the ICT building was actually taken over by the Commerce department…).

Yuye ordered his favourite sar hor fun of course. He said it was still fantastic although it wasn’t as oily or as flavourful as he remembered.

I ordered my old timer – mee goreng – to which it was just as I remembered. A bit on the chilli side but full of flavour and oily goodness. Perhaps a bit too oily for my tastebuds now. (Photo at the top of the post)

We brought a few friends along with us. Kenneth ordered the char kuay teow which was made with beef, different to some other restaurants which are often made with chicken or prawns. It also didn’t seem as oily as most places.

Sat ordered the nasi goreng which is Malaysian style fried rice. It didn’t look like it had as many ingredients as other places and looked a bit dark, but wasn’t sure how it tasted since I didn’t try any.

Arch ordered a lemongrass pork chop with rice and fried egg. Again I didn’t try this dish but he mentioned that he expected the pork to be crunchier. Instead because it was so dunked in sauce, it became soggy. The egg looks great though with a runny yolk which I didn’t expect. Most of these restaurants make their fried eggs completely cooked through.

Uni Square Cafe isn’t a restaurant that I would travel great distances for. But if I was a University of Melbourne student or if I lived nearby, I would visit this place as it’s cheap, fast and unhealthily delicious, for at least the dishes I’ve tried. It’s a bit unfortunate that it wasn’t AS good as we remembered back in the day, but perhaps it’s because our tastes have evolved since then.

Uni Square Cafe
Phone: (03) 9349 1638
165 Pelham St, Carlton VIC 3053

Uni Square Cafe on Urbanspoon

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12 comments… add one
  • Parsley Sage July 22, 2012, 11:54 pm

    Oooh! That pork chop looks fabulous πŸ™‚

    It’s always fun to go back and eat at places you used to. That’s pretty much the only reason I go back to Oklahoma anymore…to EAT!

    • Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake July 27, 2012, 3:42 pm

      It looks great doesn’t it…too bad it looks better than it tasted apparently. :S And yes it is quite fun to relive food memories..although I tend to find nothing’s as good as what I remember them to be…

  • kitchenriffs July 23, 2012, 2:56 am

    Fun post. I love reliving food memories. And usually I find the food hasn’t changed, but I have – my tastes keep changing all the time.

    • Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake July 27, 2012, 3:39 pm

      Yes that’s exactly what I thought, I don’t think the food was any different since it’s the same chef and owner…it was just our memories of the food seems different that’s all and mostly due to our changed taste..

  • Carolyn Jung July 23, 2012, 9:44 am

    Even if it’s not worth a special trip, I will say you had me with that one dish of noodles at the top. I would devour that in a heartbeat. πŸ˜‰

    • Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake July 27, 2012, 3:38 pm

      I tried devouring that quickly, but it was quite a big dish! πŸ˜› I couldn’t actually finish it…I know..shameful…

  • Hotly Spiced July 23, 2012, 1:00 pm

    I love mee goreng too. And yes, if you’re really hungry and on a budget and need something in a hurry, this would be perfect xx

    • Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake July 27, 2012, 3:37 pm

      Yes definitely if you’re on a budget..it’s right next to a huge university so I guess that’s why the name of the cafe is what it is. πŸ˜›

  • Libby July 24, 2012, 6:00 pm

    I never tried this place while I was an undergrad at Melbourne Uni but now that I’m back as a masters student, I think I’ll pop by if I ever feel like cheap Asian food after my evening classes and can’t be bothered waiting to get home to eat πŸ™‚

    • Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake July 27, 2012, 3:30 pm

      Ooo you’re doing masters there? I did a masters course there too…although I probably shouldn’t have done it..:( don’t have too high expectations when you visit there though if you do, it might be ok for undergrads but our tastes might be different now that we blog. πŸ˜›

  • Nami | Just One Cookbook July 25, 2012, 7:43 am

    This happens to us – we thought and we remembered it’s good… but I think we eat much better food nowadays that our level of “good” has been evolved. =) I love that fat noodle dish!

    • Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake July 27, 2012, 3:26 pm

      Yes…I do find that I used to be a lot less picky..the more I eat good food, the more my palate and my criteria change…oh well, it’s good to be a bit more picky I suppose. πŸ˜›


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