Tregan Borg reviews Workshop Brothers, Glen Waverley
97 Kings Way
Workshop Brothers sits smack bang in the heart of Glen Waverley’s main strip Kings Way.
It’s nestled in-between dumplings, Chinese grocers, bakeries and butchers on this very suburban shopping strip.
Despite looking slightly out of place with its sparkling new fit out, blush pink walls and gold fixtures, the new kid on the block seemed a welcome addition with a packed house at 2pm.
The owners of Workshop Bros dig into their Chinese ancestry and deliver food focused on flavours they’ve grown up with.
Naturally this modern take works in an area that is known well for Asian cuisine. At Workshop the theme continues in a more upbeat and Instagram worthy way.
It’s an all day eatery, which seems to be the way things are moving these days. Breakfast, lunch or dinner and these guys have you covered.
A late late lunch seemed like the best choice for me. We’re a little spoiled these days with menus available online, but in my planning I knew I wanted to try the Hong Long waffles.
It was clear the Hong Kong waffles were on everyone else’s mind as they were flying out of the kitchen and onto everyone’s tables.
Hong Kong waffles are slightly different to their honeycombed American style counterparts.
They are spherical as opposed to square, egg based, sweet and a little lighter in their texture. You can go sweet or savoury.
Sweet seemed to be the more popular choice, paired with a dark chocolate parfait vanilla fairy floss, hazelnuts and pumpkin caramel. I was keen to try the savoury, with five spice chicken wings, gochujang chilli or honey soy sauce.
For some reason my mind immediately thought the chicken would be fried, (fried chicken and waffles?) but they were glazed, sticky sweet wings. An OK dish but kind of regretting not getting the sweet alternative.
I had my eyes on the Kimchi and prawn risotto, cooked in a chilli broth, topped with gruyere cheese.
Risotto and Kimchi surely a potential disaster, luckily it was edible and delicious. A generous serve, the chilli broth was well balanced, with kimchi giving a nice bite. Set off with the giving creamy texture. Strangely, it works.
“Keep it 100” Grannies century egg congee, caramelized pork belly and doughnut sticks.
Pulling in inspiration from their Chinese heritage this dish is a great example mixing old with new, a modern take on a traditional Chinese breakfast. Let’s clear up the century egg. It’s not really one hundred years old.
Century egg is essentially a preserved egg, using things like clay, wood ash, plants husks and tea in the preservation method. It’s a blacky green colour is kind of off putting, however the taste is like a hard boiled egg with a jelly–like gelatinous texture.
It’s commonly served with congee as is in this dish. Mix it up with a slab of slowly braised pork belly and some crispy Chinese donuts and you have a breakfast that is far from smashed avo.
If eggs preserved in ash ain’t your thing, there are plenty of other options too choose from.
“Ham and Peas” a crumbed hock terrine, pea puree and lemon ricotta is a little more mainstream. You can also get your hands on the “CC burger” crispy chicken, pickled cucumber and a puffed rice and coriander gel or, “The Workshop Way” Mom’s XO Spicy Beans, lap cheoung and roti.
Timing was good transitioning into the bar snacks menu (from 3pm onwards) so I substituted my lack of Hong Kong waffle sweet treat in the form of a coconut sago pudding. Coconut Sago pudding, cocoa coffee soil, mixed granola and pineapple curd should be on the all-day menu as it was the winning dish. Sago, creamy coconut hint of coffee and chocolate it was a textural wonderland.
Service still needs some work, but the good intentions were there, I wouldn’t say it was bad, just a needing a little work around menu knowledge and attentiveness.
I got the feeling there were lots of locals keen to try out the new digs, people still flowing in after 3pm for bar snacks. It’s an interesting menu, which reads well, execution slightly hit and miss on some of menu items. If you live around the area, definitely worth giving it a go and trying it out for yourself. Don’t make my mistake and order the HK sweet waffles!