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“Spring Onion pancake was good!” 3 of 5 bubbles
Review of Empress of China

Empress of China
Ranked #2,553 of 3,851 Restaurants in Melbourne
Cuisines: Chinese, Asian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Dining on a budget, Families with children
Dining options: Dinner, Lunch, Late Night, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Takeout, Waitstaff
Neighborhood: Chinatown
Adelaide
Level Contributor
7 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Spring Onion pancake was good!”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 23, 2012

I had vegetarian Singapore noodles and a spring onion pancake. The noodles came with prawns, I assume there was simply a misunderstanding. The pancake was just delicious, beautifully crispy on the outside and doughy in the middle. They also mixed up my beer order bringing me the wrong one but at stage of the day I just wanted a beer so it wasn't a big deal.

  • Visited September 2012
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
1 Thank CCtraveller81
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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119 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    29
    33
    25
    8
    24
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Canberra ACT
Level Contributor
205 reviews
99 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 153 helpful votes
“This Place is an Absolute Disaster”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 24, 2012

We had made a booking for seven at this place for 7pm and the four of us arrived to find our three friends already there. We we seated upstairs because of the size of the group and unfortunately this is where they also store their unused tables and chairs and other bits and pieces. Its not a good environment for a good night out.

There was also a group of around eight chinese men next to us as well and they were halfway through their meal when we arrived. We were the only ones on the upper level. Our table had no lazy susan and the table cloth had butchers paper over the top of it- big squares and not cut to size.

After a few minutes we were presented with tatty menus and we noted most of the food on offer was 1980's vintage type dishes and not very innovative. Most of the menus were torn and falling to pieces. We should have walked out then and found some where else to eat.

We ordered a bottle of Penfolds 2010 Koonunga Hill Shiraz @$28 and a few bottles of Tsing Tao beer @$5 a bottle for the non wine drinkers. The drinks and a jug of water with seven glasses arrrived within a few minutes.

The woman who took our order had very poor english and struggled to take our orders so we asked her to repeat them to us which she did and we had to make some corrections as she had written them down incorrectly.

Around 15 minutes passed before the food started to arrive.One entree arrived first, four serves of vegetarian spring rolls (2 to a serve) these were dry and lacking any flavour whatsoever. I suspect they had been reheated. We had to ask for some chilli sauce and some soy sauce as they were not on the table. For this dish I think 2/10 would be fair. Not a good start.

Next our mongolian beef arived. Picture beef that has been soaked in bi carbonate of soda for too long to make it completely tasteless and then stir fried with some capsicum and large amounts of a brown gluey sauce with far too much cornflour added. This was poured onto a hot cast iron plate so it sizzled. It tasted like I imagine a can of dog food would taste like. It was not good. 2/10.

Next our next entree arrived. Pork dumplings with prawn. The filling was fine but they were far too glutinous. A passable dish and 5/10.

Our vegetable dish, brocolli with oyster sauce and honey chicken arrived. But still no steamed rice which we had ordered- a vacant look from the waitress when we asked for it and where was our jasmine tea?. The vegetable dish was pleasant enough on the eye, its hard to do a bad stir fried chinese brocolli but there was far too much oyster sauce and as a consequence its a bit too salty.I think 5.5/10.

The honey chicken has far too much batter on it. Its a large serve but lacks any flavour. 3.5/10 would be the best I could score this one. Now the tea arrives in a thermos and its luke warm, tastes stewed and no cups are provided. 1/10 for the tea. We ask for some cups but they don't arrive. I drink out of my water glass.

We have a mystery dish arrive. We had ordered fish with special sauce but we are served sweet fish and hot pickled cabbage in a tureen- Its a soup. How we got this one I will never know but we decided to give it a go. It was far too peppery and quite unpleasant I think 3/10 and thats being generous. To be fair they did offer not to charge us for it when we asked what it was but as we had eaten about a third of it we said we would pay for it.

Where is our steamed rice? It still has not arrived. It comes out with our next dish, a sweet and sour pork spare ribs which is a battered dish. Its a good size , but far too much oily batter and fatty pork inside. A most disappointing dish 3.5/10 is the best I could give this one.

We had ordered a salt and pepper squid dish but it never arrived- perhaps someone down stairs had got it instead. We decided not to pursue this one as the other dishes had been very poor quality food.

Another beef dish arrives- it was supposed to be lamb. It tastes exactly the same as the mongolian beef- bad. We left the majority of this dish. I suspect if you order any beef dish they will all taste the same- just the name is different.

After our food was served no one came near us again to ask if we wanted more drinks or was everything ok. We actually had to go downstairs to ask for the bill.

I used the mens toilets. Gee, they were unpleasant, not well cleaned and smelt of stale urine.
The wash basin was grimy and had not been properly cleaned for quite some time . Apparently the womens toilets were just as bad according to the women in our group.

Summary.

Food quality? Generous serves. However, very poor and less than a very poor food court quality- Think of food cooked in the morning and left in a bain marie for five or six hours and you will be able to picture the quality of the food we were served. Around 3/10 in total and thats being generous.

Service?. Practically none. 1/10

Toilets? Very unpleasant, grimy and smelly. minus 1/10

Our total bill was $190 and while the food was not expensive I would never return to this place. I really don't know how it survives or call itself a chinese restaurant. I don't really like giving restaurants a bad review but I don't want otheres to have there night spoiled like ours was. This place is one of the worst I have visited in a long time. It was a disgrace.

  • Visited July 2012
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
2 Thank rovingrabbit2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kuta, Indonesia
Level Contributor
70 reviews
49 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
“Cheap food.”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 29, 2012

Perhaps this place has the cheapest food in melbourne. considering the portion and the taste of the place is totally a good value.And the service is better than the average service u normally get in the chinatown area.

  • Visited July 2011
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
2 Thank Ryuta I
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Auckland Region, New Zealand
Level Contributor
106 reviews
61 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 71 helpful votes
“Bustling with customers for a good reason”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 12, 2012

Had a great time here with friends when visiting Mels. They were quick to find us a seat and take our order. Food came out steadily which allowed for good times to chat. There is a reason that this place is so busy. Good service (despite the crazy number of people), it can get a bit loud at times with the large numbers, and good food.

Would eat at again for certain.

Visited June 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank BobbieTee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bath, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
132 reviews
75 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
“Good value Chinese”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 11, 2012

Came here at an odd time (3 PM) on the Queen's Birthday Holiday for a late lunch with work colleagues. In spite of the holiday we were working, and took a break for lunch late. The combination of the holiday and the hour meant many places were closed; but the Empress of China was open so that is where we went. We were pleasantly surprised - the food was of good quality, and was good value.

  • Visited June 2012
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Mark B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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