(Melbourne) CJ Lunch Bar

CJ Lunch Bar

When I’m craving for some Korean cuisine, CJ Lunch Bar is one of the two Korean restaurants that I normally go to, the other being Oriental Spoon. It is located in the CBD, close to many other restaurants and right across from The Hardware Société. The restaurant is almost always crowded, especially during dinner time, where it’s common to find groups of customers waiting to be seated. But don’t be daunted by the idea of having to wait to get a table because the Chicken Bulgogi with Cheese is worth the try! It may sound ludicrous but that dish is more or less synonymous with the restaurant itself (and vice versa). CJ Lunch Bar is also very popular among university students and office workers alike, owing to their inexpensive prices yet appetizing food.

 – General Review –

  •  Service: 6.5/10

CJ Lunch Bar is always packed with people and the staff are constantly busy, so it’s usually understandable if they’re quite short with customers. The restaurant provides a no-frills service – orders are made at the counter and the restaurant only accepts cash, so make sure to bring enough with you beforehand. Food is served relatively quickly here, and some aspects are self-serviced, including water (bottles and cups available near the cashier that you can take to your table) and cutlery etc.

  • Servicescape: 6/10

The restaurant is small and compact, with not many seats provided which explains why all the tables are occupied so quickly. Don’t expect anything much in terms of comfort – the restaurant can get very cramped, and customers waiting for a table have to do so outside. It’s definitely not a place where you can linger around after you’re done with your meal, since there’re usually other customers waiting in line to be seated, nor where you would want to hold large group gatherings. It’s understandable given the cheap price customers pay, but the main reason CJ Lunch Bar is so popular is because its food is so delicious we can all make do without the extra services and comfort.

  • Non-smoking area: Yes, most seats are indoors and smoke-free.
  • Vegetarian dishes: Yes, several snacks and main course dishes are vegetarian-friendly.
  • Price range: $ (AU$6 – $16 for all dishes.)

Overall Rating: 8/10

 – Food Experience –

1) 군만두 Gun-Mandu:

The dumplings were mediocre and the stuffing was really hot, so be careful! They weren’t exactly crispy, more on the soft side, and comes with sesame sauce dip. Generally, I felt like it wasn’t worth the value for money.

Gun-Mandu - 6pcs ($8)

Gun-Mandu – 6pcs ($8)

2) 떡볶이 Tteokbokki:

The Tteokbokki (spicy stir-fried rice cake) was great for sharing and there are even several variation of the dish available in CJ Lunch Bar, including those with additional ramen, tempura, or dumplings. The dish consisted of rice cakes and vegetables such as onion and lettuce, served with special chili sauce. Generally, the dish was decent although it  wasn’t one of the best I’ve tried. It was a little too sweet, and the rice cakes were too soft.

Tteokbokki ($10)

Tteokbokki ($10)

3) 치즈닭불고기 Chicken Bulgogi w/ Cheese:

The Chicken Bulgogi with Cheese is the dish that everyone should try when dining in CJ Lunch Bar. Everyone. I believe it’s CJ Lunch Bar’s signature dish, and almost every table orders it! I introduced this dish to a friend of mine and initially, she was skeptical – chicken with cheese? Yep, been there done that, I shared the same sentiment before. However, it really exceeded my expectations and I was sold after the first bite. The chicken was cut into bite-sizes and were really tender, although it may be a little spicy for some people (I’d recommend eating this with rice). The cheese wasn’t overwhelming, and even though I thought it would make the dish taste too rich, it didn’t. I have recommended this to many people and none had been disappointed – an absolute must-try!

Chicken Bulgogi w/ Cheese ($16.50)

Chicken Bulgogi w/ Cheese ($16.50)

4) 비빔밥 Beef Bibimbap:

The Beef Bibimbap was average, a little spicy, and the rice was a little too soft but the beef was good. The portion’s big enough for one person or shared with others. Served with sautéed vegetables, mushrooms, egg and topped with a special chili sauce, I’ve always regarded bibimbap as one of the healthier options and this is no exception.

Beef Bibimbap ($12)

Beef Bibimbap ($12)

** I had the honor of mixing the bibimbap and got so excited that I forgot to take a photo before that! But it still looks delicious anyway… I hope.

Location: Shop 2/ 391 Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne – VIC, Australia (3000)

Contact number: +61 3 9602 1155

Operating hours: Mon – Fri: 11am – 10pm

Sat: 11:30am – 10pm

Sun: Closed

Posted by: V

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