By WENDY HARGREAVES
Melbourne might be one of the most expensive cities in the world, but there are plenty of cheap options if you know where to look. Here are five of the best meals for less than $10.
- 198 Little Lonsdale St, Melbourne
- Everything on the menu goes for under a tenner at this bustling Japanese cafe. Get 10 spring rolls for $4.50, and big generous bowls of teriyaki, curry, soba and udon from $7-$10.. The bento box is excellent value at $9.90, built for big appetites with teriyaki, sukiyaki, salad and rice. The sister restaurant Don Tojo is just as cheap and delicious at 164 Cardigan St, Carlton.
- 119 Rose St, Fitzroy + Shop 16, 116 Collins St, City (enter via Russell St)
- Lune’s croissants are by no means cheap at $5.90 a pop, but these golden gems are the best, and that’s official. The New York Times has singled out Kate Reid’s croissants as the “best in the world”. Those golden pastries are also a meal in themselves, made over three days with painstaking precision, giving each bite a magical snap that’s chewy and crispy all at once. No need to add butter… there’s enough in the pastry, but if you’re after a bit more bang, go for the savoury croissant baked with shaved ham, Swiss Gruyere and seeded mustard inside ($9.90).
- Market Square, Dandenong Market, corner Clow & Cleeland streets, Dandenong
- For a bargain lunch, San San’s deal is hard to beat – a dozen hand-made dumplings for $9.95. Xianlen Chen takes huge pride in her dumpling recipes, handed down by her great, great grandfather. Get your fresh food shopping done while you’re there, also at bargain prices.
- 9/993 North Rd, Murrumbeena
- The Oasis Bakery and supermarket is hardly glamorous, housed in a sprawling warehouse in an industrial part of North Road, but who cares when you can get a fresh Lebanese lamb/feta pizza for $8.90, or bowl of artery-hardening halloumi chips with zaatar, garlic yoghurt sauce, pomegranate molasses and mint for $9? The chicken shawarma wraps ($9.90) are also worth crossing town. And while you’re there, stock up the pantry in the supermarket.
- Abbotsford Convent, 1/3 St Heliers St, Abbotsford + 41 Blessington St, St Kilda + 562-564 High St, Thornbury
- The ultimate tight-arse restaurant, serving a vegetarian menu with no prices. Diners pay what they can afford – or what they think the meal is worth – and there’s a gorgeous range of curries, cakes, salads and bakes that changes with the seasons. St Kilda’s okonomiyaki (Japanese pancake) is always a crowd pleaser, crispy on the outside and full of fresh veg. This innovative social enterprise also operates a food rescue grocery store and vegan catering team.