Monday, 24 November 2008

King / Bourke Quest Part 21: Buddhist Temple

Fo Guang Yuan Art Gallery & Vegetarian Restaurant
141 Queen Street, Melbourne (map)
9642 2388
Open Mon-Fri, lunch only

Time for another entrant in the King/Bourke Quest, the never-ending search for decent lunchtime fare within a quick walking distance from the corner of King Street and Bourke Street (the gastronomic wasteland where my office is located).

Fo Guang Yuan

Fondly referred to by many simply as "Buddhist Temple", Fo Guang Yuan Art Gallery is many things: an art gallery, a tea house, a vegetarian restaurant, classrooms, a meditation hall, a shrine and a gift shop! In a particularly busy stretch of Queen Street (between the Turf Bar and CQ) it is a high-ceilinged, refined oasis of tranquility.

Fo Guang Yuan

My most recent visit was a few weeks ago, with Gumby and her husband D-man. Upon arrival I immediately ordered a pot of the Temple's most excellent cumquat tea. Oh, this cumquat tea is so so nice my friends... hot and sweet yet piquant. Heh, piquant cumquat is fun to say. :)

Fo Guang Yuan cumquat tea

All of the dishes at FGY Buddhist Temple are vegetarian, many of them with faux meat. The rotating daily specials are served in bento boxes. I had the Thai curry, and marveled at the texture of the "meat".

Fo Guang Yuan Thai curry

Gumby-chan had the fried "fish" with a Penang sauce. Again, it had a remarkably authentic texture. Some of my fellow omnivores out there may raise their eyebrows at some of the "meat" on offer at the Temple, but let me assure you that it tastes good.

Fo Guang Yuan fried fake fish

D-man had the fried noodles, which as well as being deliciously slimy had a great smoky flavour. All of the dishes are around the $8-$8.50 mark, and I'm yet to have a dud dish at the Temple.

Fo Guang Yuan noodles

Highly recommended - though if you're going on a Friday or in a group you may want to phone ahead and book... but be sure to request a table in the lovely high-ceilinged main hall and not in one of the poky, fluorescent-lit back rooms!

Fo Guang Yuan


Cindy said...

I've been wanting to visit FGYAG for a long time - it's difficult to get there on a weekday since I don't work in the city!

Unknown said...

I used to drop in there when I worked near Bourke/William. I was also vegetarian at the time, which helped. The food was pretty good, but I found the serves a little small. Did you visit the temple upstairs?

bunchesmcginty said...

Oh, I remember running into you after I finished work around the dead-zone for food.

That place looks great, I can't believe I haven't gone.

Vee said...

That sounds amazing though I've never been a huge fan of vegetarian meat...I love your blog - been following it for ages and just started food blogging myself. If you'd like to link me that would be cool - check out my Tempura Hajime blog post here. Would adore comments! =o)

Lucy said...

oooh you know all the secrets spots! Great work, must visit soon! You are creating quite a long list of 'must visits' for me!

Thanks! x

Johanna GGG said...

this looks like a jewel in the wasteland - what an amazing room - and the food looks interesting too (but perhaps a little too much faux meat)

Anonymous said...

I love the Buddhist Temple! One of my favourite dishes is the dumplings in noodle soup. It's nothing very exciting - it is what it purports to be, plus two slices of spamlike mystery vegetarian meat. It has become my new comfort food now that I can no longer duck over to Garage for soto ayam.

Jodes said...

Big Temple fan - the tea is so good and the atmosphere is also really nice. I always feel quite relaxed after my lunch there!

claire said...

Cindy, I hear ya. Hate it when places are only open when I'm at work!

Hiya James - no I haven't been to the temple upstairs. Is it okay to stickybeak in there?

Yo bunches - yes, I remember almost running into you one evening in Bourke Street outside my building. Do you work regularly in that part of town? If so, you have my condolences...

Hi Vee, thanks for your kind words! I haven't been to Tempura Hajime, outrageous I know. Like the look of your new blog - link provided! :)

No worries Lucy - you are providing me with an equally long list of must visit fabulous design studios and boutiques. I'm still lusting after that bedspread at Spaceworks!

Johanna there are other dishes with an emphasis on the vegetables rather than the faux meat, if you prefer...

Why hello there Miss T. I have not had these dumplings in soup you speak of (how could any compare to our beloved chilli oil dumplings in Chinatown?!). For our next Ladies Who Lunch lunch we should forgo Cafe Vue and visit the Buddhist Temple together (unless the December lunchbox is TOTES fabulous, of course)... xx

Glad to hear you're a fan of the tea too, Jodes! It's the thing I look forward to most when I'm going there.

Jetsetting Joyce (MEL: HOT OR NOT) said...

I used to love it but no longer. In 2010 they seem to have reduced their menu to nothing - dumplings, 3 noodle dishes and then a huge array of Western desserts. The noodles were good (but so slow) - and frankly not good enough for me to return in a hurry.

Jetsetting Joyce