Shop TG10, Goldsbrough Lane, 181 William Street
I hate shopping complexes. When caught inside I feel queasy, I feel disorientated, it’s awful. The blaring downlights and mirror floor tiles, the sickly commercial focus and the strategic trails, manipulating one’s mind to purchase average goods. Too much. Food courts, at least in Melbourne, are just as bad (there are exceptions). Mostly chain stores serving up mediocre, over-priced food on a plastic tray in a sad enclosed space. The open air shopping complex where Roll’d is located (note: it is now a major chain around Melbourne) is a newish sterile space, but effective for the suits of the city.
Roll’d is completely office-worker oriented in the western area of the city. It closes at 3pm and doesn’t open on weekends, so it has been a challenge to get there. I trek to the city a lot to hang out and play four-player Mario Kart and Roll’d made a fitting lunch spot. Many new pho restaurants have been opening recently with westernised interiors and prices reflecting Melbourne’s inner-city gentrification and Roll’d (who also serve pho, goi and bun) follows this approach. In fact, it is the first banh mi place I’ve been to that isn’t a bakery. It doesn’t have the same vibe as older Vietnamese bakeries that I’d much rather be supporting. At $6.20, banh mi at Roll’d is the most expensive I’ve seen and the crackling pork option (which I heart so much) bumps it up a dollar.
I went with a friend not long before closing time and we were served, apparently, the last two bread rolls. Despite the time, the rolls were very good, crunchy and big. Not prepared to shell out coins on the crackling pork, I ordered the “classic pork roll” that would normally be labelled pork loaf. The salad was abundant and great, the spring onions rubbing shoulders nicely with the pate and butter. There was no soy sauce or Maggi sauce added.
What was a very satisfying banh mi left me questioning its worth. Compared to many other things around, it probably is (note: since writing I’ve discovered many good restaurants and cafes in the western part of the city), but I’m not on a wage like the people who work around here are and it’s doubtful if I’ll be coming back. Typical of their image, Roll’d name their dishes on their menu annoying names like Mr. Bun Mee, Roll’d Soldiers (rice paper rolls) and Uncle Pho. Would prefer if they bypassed the gimmicks.