CJ Lunch Bar…. when my friend messaged me that he was coming down to Melbourne for a week, I knew I had finally found a companion who’d be willing to check this place out with me. Luckily for me, my friend was one of those people who was not fussy about what he ate or where. With an enthusiasm that almost matched mine in trying out new food, he’d always let me choose the place because he knew I had a wishlist to tackle. For the longest time (almost a year now), I have been meaning to try this signature chicken bulgolgi with cheese that CJ Lunch Bar is known for. Located on Little Lonsdale St just around the corner from Hardware Societe on Hardware Lane and Nieuw Amsterdam which is a little further down, CJ Lunch Bar is a nice little shop to eat and chill in that’s great for uni students on a budget and those looking for good lunch time deals. CJ Lunch Bar basically looks like a take away shop. No frills or fancy stuff to be seen here, but you shouldn’t judge an eatery by it’s front door.
Seating is basic and positioned to use the small space effectively. When ordering you are expected to order and pay at the counter before or after taking a seat. All meals come with some compliment sides. In this case some pickled bean sprouts, kimchi and two pieces of orange to help cleanse the palate.
Chicken Bulgolgi with cheese (and spicy sauce) $16.50
We of course had to order the chicken and cheese bulgolgi which was served with while sizzling and oil was just flying in every direction. And I was wearing a white sweater too! We gave it some time to sizzle down before wiping the table and digging in. The marinade was amazing with the cheesy goodness melted all over. It was quite spicy but at a level I could tolerate. My friend on the other hand didn’t do too well and was beginning to break a sweat. This would have been perfect with some greens simply prepared and white rice but there wasn’t anything like that on the menu to order so we ended up ordering some soup to share.
Kimchi-jjigae $13.00 – Kimchi with chicken, pork bulgolgi, and tofu served in a boiling stew
Talk about spicy but this boiling stew set my tongue on fire. It was so overwhelmingly spicy that the stew remained basically untouched (minus a few pieces of tofu). It’s safe to say that I won’t be caught ordering anything similar to this anytime in the future. The good side though was that there was enough food from the chicken bulgolgi with cheese to fill us up. The plate was massive and if I were to tackle that thing on its own it’d provide me with 3-4 servings of meat. The side dishes provided a refreshing change of flavours from the oily richness.
I love a good table spread shot of food.
All in all, the chicken bulgolgi with cheese certainly lives up to it’s recommendations so I would definitely come back for that only. CJ Lunch Bar does boast a great value $10 lunch sets so if you’re in need of a cheap eat then it’s certainly come here. Otherwise if you’re looking for a place that offers more variety or healthier food then I’d suggest you just move on.