Lunchez on Highbury might be a comparatively modest Vietnamese restaurant, but it’s worth checking out for some of the cheapest – and finest – Banh Mi, Pho and Burgers in the around.
Location: 99 Highbury Rd, Burwood, VIC 3125 Ph: (03) 9808 33326
The Warrigal Road end of Highbury Road is a funny old strip.
First there’s the Burwood Cemetery, then a landscape of low-rise warehouses, workshops and small businesses. It’s the kind of street that many past through, but few stop along. Which is a shame, because dozens of commuters each day are missing out on the budget-busting delights of Lunchez on Highbury.
Sat across the way from Abbeys Auctions, drive too fast and you might miss Lunchez on Highbury.
The restaurant juts out slightly onto the pavement and a sign advertising ‘Hot Takeaway Food’ hangs on the side wall. There’s a covered area out the front and when the Melbourne weather is favourable, a few metal tables and chairs are set under the shade.
Inside we are talking classic Aussie industrial zone cafe.
There’s a display cabinet of hot food to the left. Another longer service counter runs along the back of the cafe. This rear counter is stocked with a mind-boggling array of ingredients for Banh Mi, Sandwiches, Burgers and more. It’s all clearly freshly prepared and restocked regularly.
To the right side of the establishment stands a large, well-stocked cold drinks cabinet.
Three or four more metal chairs and tables sit marooned in the middle of the floor. Occasionally, someone sits, but the majority of customers come for take away.
Needless to say, Lunchez on Highbury is spotlessly clean.
Fabulously fresh, plentiful, tasty, and cheap, Vietnamese fare.
The big attraction for Eatability – and many others who feel compelled to drive this way around lunchtime – is the excellent Banh Mi.
Now Melbourne isn’t exactly short of Banh Mi at present, and there are some great Vietnamese bakeries doing tasty baguette rolls all over town. However, having sampled quite a few, we rate the ones at Lunchez as being right up there. They might not be the fanciest, but they are chock-full of crisp veggies and tender cuts of meat.
And with prices ranging from a mere $6.50 for a Vegetarian version to the maximum of $7.50 for the Crispy Pork complete with crunchy crackling, they are an absolute bargain.
If you tire of Banh Mi (!) the happy team at Lunchez on Highbury can rustle you up a Burger built around Chicken, Fish or The Lot for just $7.00. Or there’s a seemingly endless selection of Sandwiches, once you start adding various bits of Salad and dollops of Condiments from the counter.
On a chilly day, the Beef and Chicken Pho ($12) are both substantial and delicious. The broth is fragrant and the bowl comes stuffed with Noodles and punchy Herbs, as well as your choice of protein. Another winner is the Rice Fried – especially good if you add a Marinated Chicken Skewer or 2.
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And of course, there are those much-loved Aussie cafe favs – Hot Chips, Potato Cakes, Dimsim and more. In fact, they even sell their own Homemade Beef Dimsim and Chicken Dimsim. I honestly can’t imagine where they would ever find the time to make them, but there you go!
For those who prefer to dine gluten free, the Vermicelli BBQ Pork ($12) is a filling take on Vietnamese Bun. And again, the freshness of all the components is obvious. The same is true of the superb Rice Paper Rolls, which are plump with filling.
Whilst the cold drinks fridge does a roaring trade, somehow or other, the wonderful people at Lunchez on Highbury also manage to stop long enough to make the odd cup of Coffee.
And not just any old cup of Coffee, but Grinders.
Yes, these folks really care about their customers.
Do yourself a favour and head over to Burwood sometime to try the food at Lunchez on Highbury.
It might not be the fanciest cafe in the area, but it’s one of the best at what it does.
It’s also excellent if you want quality, plentiful, tasty food that doesn’t break the bank.
Plus – and this can’t be overstated – the owners and staff are absolutely lovely.