I went through quite a few of the comments and reviews of this place on Urbanspoon and although agree that there is a bit of an ‘attitude’ and service can be turned up a notch, it is what the food that really matters I think. Yuye and I both quite like this place, especially their xiao long bao.
The idea of Food Republik is reminiscent of the food court style eating that can be found in many parts of Asia, especially China (some places go by the exact name in Chinese). I find it especially handy when you feel like multiple types of dishes but you can get them all in the one restaurant.
The restaurant is obviously a Taiwanese style eatery with those that are already familiar with the dishes.
One of my favourite dishes here is the entree size thin handmade noodles with mini oysters. It’s seriously a bowl of umami and is comfort food for me when I’m not too hungry but it’s a bit cold outside. I can just sit there and slurp that thick oystery soup all day long. The noodles were well made and melted in my mouth but still retained enough texture. This dish goes particularly well with a little bit of vinegar.
Another one of our favourite dishes here is the xiao long bao (above). If you like thinner skin and plenty of soup inside, this is the type of xiao long bao for you. It’s similar in style to Din Tai Fung although of course Din Tai Fung is a lot better.
Their dumplings are not bad as well with the fried ones done properly (put upside down) so the bottoms don’t get soggy. The skins were just thick enough and the meaty filling was tasty.
I didn’t quite like their chilli wontons though as they used palm sugar (and a lot of it) on top. Just raw sugar. It gave the wontons a crunchy texture which were a little weird and made them way too sweet for my liking.
Another one of their highlights (and that of Taiwanese food in general) is the fried chicken chop. We had this in a lunch box with mince on rice, fried egg and veggies. The fried egg was obviously a bit overcooked but then I’m not too fussed with that in this type of restaurant. The chicken chop was done quite well with the outside crunchy and not oily. It’s quite a large chop too so value is there. You have the option to have this in popcorn chicken style.
Other than savoury meals like this, they have also desserts on the menu such as kaya toast from Toast Box which comes with a nice and thick piece of toast with not too bad kaya.
You also have the option to order Dessert Story desserts if you so wish and pay on the same bill.
Overall we like eating here, despite the cramped seating (we usually go fairly late so this wasn’t a problem for us) and the sometimes bad service (which you get at most cheap Chinese restaurants anyway). Food is generally quite good and portions are not bad. So for those of you who trust in Urbanspoon ratings, do put it aside for a second and give this restaurant a chance. You might just find a couple of dishes you’d go back for like us.
Phone: (03) 9898 6669
1 Main Street, Box Hill (inside the Centro food court but can also enter via outside)