Orient East

348 St Kilda Road, Melbourne, VIC

All Details
  • (03) 9685 2900
St Kilda Rd's Orient East.
St Kilda Rd's Orient East. Photo: Eddie Jim

Dani Valent

In many cities, you go to hotels to find the great restaurants. In Melbourne, not so much. I'm suspicious of our hotel restaurants, imagining unwitting travellers falling prey to uninspired venues doing exactly as much as they can get away with. But then there's Orient East, which busts that mould open. It's a fun, clever post-colonial homage to British Malaya in the Seasons Botanic Gardens on St Kilda Road (opposite the Shrine). It serves visitors to the hotel, but also has a handy office-worker catchment, making it part of Melbourne life, rather than a sterile tourist-only zone.

Kitsch wall panels and pop Penang signage work towards a happy, beachy mood in the multi-level dining space. There's a terrace, too, but the resort vibe will swing more easily when the weather warms. The menu is a light-hearted mash-up of Malaysian classics and stiff-upper-lip British fare, which works nicely with the need to offer room-service mainstays such as burgers and club sandwiches.

Aficionados get antsy about authenticity when it comes to dishes such as char kuay teow, a stir-fried rice-noodle dish. I haven't tramped the streets of Kuala Lumpur doing taste tests so I can't comment on the faithfulness of this version, but the Penang-style CKT was enjoyable from first bite to last, wet without being sloppy, both fishy and porky, and the flat noodles tangled without clumping. Above all, a lovely, smoky wok-hei (wok ''breath'') brought the dish together.

Orient East's soft shell crab bun.
Orient East's soft shell crab bun. Photo: Eddie Jim

Hainanese chicken rice, another much-disputed dish, was soft and subtle, the gingery poached chicken served with chicken-flavoured rice (delicious), a pot of broth (comforting), and chilli sauce (punchy).

A snack menu includes bao (steamed buns) that are equal parts Chinese staple and Melbourne zeitgeist. The roast pork belly in plump folded bun was a most enjoyable pig in a blanket and the soft-shelled crab bun even better, the peppery crisp crab and spongy bread contrasting happily. On the colonial oppressor side of the ledger, the fish and chips ticked the right boxes and the chunky tartare sauce got a triple tick and a gold star, too.

Desserts included a banana fritter blast of sugared fat (that's a compliment) and restrained coconut ice with tapioca pearls. Service was a little slow and our beers weren't cold enough but, overall, this is one hotel restaurant that's delivering good times in a tasty package.

Rating

3.5 stars out of 5

Rate this restaurant

Rate this restaurant:

Use [left] and [right] keys to rate, [enter] to submit, [esc] to cancel.

Rate this restaurant with 0.5 a star Rate this restaurant with 1 star Rate this restaurant with 1.5 stars Rate this restaurant with 2 stars Rate this restaurant with 2.5 stars Rate this restaurant with 3 stars Rate this restaurant with 3.5 stars Rate this restaurant with 4 stars Rate this restaurant with 4.5 stars Rate this restaurant with 5 stars

Write a review

Thanks for voting!

Write a review

348 St Kilda Road, Melbourne, VIC

  • Prices - Snacks, $5-$9; mains, $14-$34; desserts, $8-$12
  • Features - Licensed
  • Cards accepted - AMEX, Mastercard, Visa, EFTPOS
  • Opening Hours - Mon-Fri, 6.30-10am, noon-2.30pm, 5-10pm; Sat and Sun, 7am-2.30pm, 5-9pm
  • Author - Dani Valent
Close map

Comments

Be the first to comment.

Make a comment

You are logged in as [Logout]

All information entered below may be published.

Error: Please enter your screen name.

Error: Your Screen Name must be less than 255 characters.

Error: Your Location must be less than 255 characters.

Error: Please enter your comment.

Error: Your Message must be less than 300 words.

Post to

You need to have read and accepted the Conditions of Use.

Thank you

Your comment has been submitted for approval.

Comments are moderated and are generally published if they are on-topic and not abusive.

Most viewed restaurants

View all

You can also view recent reviews for:

Most viewed restaurants in Sydney

View all

You can also view recent reviews for:

Most viewed restaurants in Melbourne

View all

You can also view recent reviews for:

Most viewed restaurants in Brisbane

View all

You can also view recent reviews for:

Most viewed restaurants in Canberra

View all

You can also view recent reviews for:

Promotions

From cooking advice to top accessories, here's a food lover's barbecue guide.

Winemaker Louisa Rose is the custodian of both Yalumba tradition and innovation.