If you love hotspots that offer the dumpling dilemma – so many great Asian restaurants in one spot, which one do you choose? – hit the freeway and head 20 kilometres south-east of Melbourne's CBD to Glen Waverley. The main action centres on Kingsway, a compact, strollable mall of outdoor dining and Asian grocers amid travel agencies and beauty salons. There are also plenty of tasty options along Coleman Parade and Railway, as well as Century City Walk, before heading down towards The Glen, the area's glossy shopping centre.
If breakfast equals caffeine in your book, make the dash to Black Flat, a super-cute, glassed-in corner cafe next to Glen Waverley railway station. Brewing Axil coffee and offering quality pastries from Noisette, it also offers a handy pre-pay system for commuters in a hurry. For something brunchier, head to Mocha Jo's for coffee and eggy breakfasts. (If you linger, segue into an alfresco lunch by grabbing a burger from Mocha Jo's burger window around the side.) Then there's Trei, which offers a health-focused menu, including a superfood bowl with kale, edamame, pepitas, almonds, asparagus, lemon and poached eggs, as well as homemade paleo and gluten-free breads.
Black Flat, shop 6, 39 Kingsway, 0420 636 138
Mocha Jo's, 87 Kingsway, 03 9560 8444
Trei, 232 Blackburn Road, 03 9810 0960
Hoowee! You are going to be spoilt for choice when it comes to lunch. You'll find branches of places you recognise from elsewhere – China Bar, Dessert Story, PappaRich, Secret Kitchen, Straits of Malacca, Grand Tofu, Dainty Sichuan, Spicy Fish – so you can dip into one of your known favourites for Hainanese chicken or a fat, flaky roti with dhal. Hong Kong Dim Sum is no frills but all flavour – get a light prawn dumpling soup cooked to order and cherrypick from fridges full of frozen dumplings to take home. On Coleman Parade, there's a great huddle of eats to be had. Kimchi Hut is a simple joint doing homely Korean food, so head there for the comfort of a bibimbap, hit up Elephant Corridor for a sparky line in Indian and Sri Lankan food, with a good range for vegetarians, or lounge under stylish photographic portraits at Paradise Road and enjoy a fiery Thai curry. For those not in the mood for Asian cuisine, Meat Me in the Middle serves up authentic souvlakis and burgers.
China Bar, 68 Kingsway, 03 9561 6808
Dessert Story, 72 Kingsway, 03 9561 8884
PappaRich, 92-94 Kingsway, 03 9560 0968
Wonton House Secret Kitchen, Century City Walk, 285-287 Springvale Road, 03 9561 7878
Straits of Malacca, 78 Kingsway, 03 9561 3880
Grand Tofu, 102 Kingsway, 03 9560 1700
Dainty Sichuan, 25 Railway Parade North, 03 9887 8686
Spicy Fish, 97 Kingsway, 03 9561 7668
Hong Kong Dim Sum, 77 Kingsway, 03 9545 3886
Kimchi Hut, 185 Coleman Parade, 03 9574 8383
Elephant Corridor, 179 Coleman Parade, 03 9561 8810
Paradise Road, 171 Coleman Parade, 03 9561 1888
Meat Me in the Middle, 86 Kingsway, 03 9560 2282
Need a little something sweet with your afternoon java? Head to Hugo's Cafe and Dessert Bar for a mind-boggling array of luscious cakes, from Nutella doughnuts to baklava, pistachio yo-yos, "Polly Waffles" and tangy sweet Armenian sujuks – a "sausage" made from grape treacle and walnuts. If you're hankering for excellent crepes and waffles, pop across to Piatella Cafe Bar and double-down on your coffee with an espresso crepe with coffee cream, biscotti and almond crumble.
Hugo's Cafe and Dessert Bar, 63 Kingsway, 03 9017 3542
Piatella Cafe Bar, 88 Kingsway, 03 9562 1700
While most of Glen Waverley's dumpling houses carry on into the evening, if you're in the mood for something a little less fast and casual, there are some stellar options.Sette Bello, away from the Kingsway epicentre and on Springvale Road, is a gorgeous glass box of a restaurant, serving contemporary Italian food with a wild flourish – rabbit roasted with limoncello and almonds or a caution-to-the-wind four cheese gnocchi. Shira Nui has been bringing quality Japanese to the area since 2002 and if you love your sushi and sashimi, take a seat front and centre at the bar and order the omakase, where piece after piece of perfect seafood will come your way. For a surprising dash of Latin America on Kingsway, slip into the dark and moody confines of the Black Toro. Order a few flavour-packed small bites to share – perhaps crab tostadas with yuzu, pulled pork tacos, five-spice fried chicken – then hit the bigger dishes such as slow-roasted lamb shoulder or chilli chicken, barbecued and served with peanut mole sauce. Sticking with the meaty theme, Steak Ministry is just that: a spacious, woodsy fitout with photo-groovy placemats and settings. This restaurant takes its steak very, very seriously, sourcing prime quality cuts, as well as offering pork ribs and sliders, and a halal menu.
Sette Bello, 540 Springvale Road, 03 9574 8000
Shira Nui, 247 Springvale Road, 03 9886 7755
The Black Toro, 79 Kingsway, 03 9561 9696
Steak Ministry Bar & Grill, 39-51 Kingsway, 03 9560 1818
There is a good number of Asian grocers here, stocking everything from Japanese chocolate to bulk bags of dried chillies. Glory Mart is an immaculate grocer with a well laid out range. Astee is a fantastic one stop shop that includes fresh produce and a butcher at the back. Han Kook has all your Korean grocery needs covered. Over in The Glen, the main, modern mall, there's a nifty section with a central fruit market selling fruit and vegies, including some more unusual varieties such as monkey head melons. Fish Pier fishmongers can sell you sea cucumbers, while Kristy's Gourmet Deli has expert staff who can recommend the perfect cheese or smallgoods.
Glory Mart, 83 Kingsway, 03 9561 2218
Astee Asian Grocery & Butcher, 35-37 Railway Parade North, 03 9887 7130
Han Kook, 52 O'Sullivan Road (inside Village Walk), 03 9886 4266
Fish Pier, The Glen, 235 Springvale Road, 03 9886 5188
Kristy's Gourmet Deli, The Glen, 235 Springvale Road, 03 9886 5114