Le Charme – The Overview…
Food: Wombok and Pork dumplings, Veggie chicken San Choy Bau, Typhoon Soft shell crab, Salt and Pepper Calamari, Saigon Curry Beef brisket, Pandan Panacotta, Lychee Mojito, Virgin Pina Colida
Inside Le Charme the quaint, slatted “Windows” give the effect of being in a European bistro and the ornate modern decor provides an upmarket feel. It’s definitely more flash than your average Chinatown venue. You feel a million miles away from bustling Little Bourke street outside, and being more closed off than many other restaurants makes a big difference to the experience.
Le Charme is popular and was busy even quite early in the evening. Yet it was peaceful and relaxing inside. They have a full liquor license and boast a nice range of light cocktails and mocktails. Staff were professional and friendly and despite the business were prompt and well organised. We went for the feed me menu, which at $30 pp is probably one of the most affordable in Melbourne. Definitely a great option if it’s your first visit as it gives you a chance to try a range of dishes from all areas of their menu.
We started with the Wombok and Pork dumplings. I thought 8 dumplings was a good amount, particular as you’re going to want to try a number of dishes. They had a light yet substantial skin with just a subtle gingery flavour. The dipping sauce provides the chilli if you fancy ramping it up a little.
Our next entree was the Veggie chicken San Choy Bau which was sweet and yummy. It’s not obviously noticeable that it’s not really chicken and it had an enjoyable nutty flavour. In true San Choy Bau fashion it dribbles down your arm while you’re trying to eat it, but overall the lettuce cups held up well, not making too much of a mess.
Next we sampled some of the seafood. The Typhoon Soft shell crab is divine. With a fab chilli hit and perfectly cooked crab, this is a great light and fresh offering. This freshness is key to making this an amazing dish and we simply adored it; I could have eaten it all night. The calamari was another tasty dish, wrapped in a light batter. The flavours here are a little more mild than the crab, but it’s still a delicious option.
For our main dish we enjoyed the Saigon Curry Beef brisket which is super flavourful. It’s a little bit spicy but not over the top and is a simple beef and potato style mixture with a little okra. The thin roti are a perfect accompaniment helping to keep the meal light.
Finally we rounded off the incredibly enjoyable and well constructed feed me menu with the pandan panacotta. It had a fab wobble and was well presented with a nice little surprise on the plate (which I won’t spoil). We also accompanied the meal with a couple of their cocktails – again there’s some nice theatrics with some of these, and my lychee martini was a ideal Asian inspired tipple to complement my food. Le Charme is definitely somewhere we’ll be going back to.
Address: Shop 3/178 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne
Tue 11:30am to 3pm and 5pm to 10pm
Wed 11:30am to 3pm and 5pm to 10pm
Thu 11:30am to 3pm and 5pm to 10pm
Fri 11:30am to 3pm and 5pm to 11pm
Sat 11:30am to 11pm
Sun 11:30am to 10pm
Parking: It’s a little hectic to park nearby, but there are plenty of paid car-parking spaces available. Plan to approach the restaurant from Russell Street and park in that area as opposed to approaching it from Swanston.
Getting here on PT: It’s less than 5 minutes walk from Swanston Street Trams, alight at Bourke Street, and a similar distance from both the 86 and 96 trams (alight at Swanston Street). Trainwise, both parliament and Melbourne Central are fairly close.
Disclaimer: We dined as guests of Le Charme, Melbourne CBD. Reviews are honest and based on our own personal experiences. We cannot guarantee things at a cafe won’t change including, but not limited to, menu items and opening hours, so please confirm any details with the venue before visiting.