6 Keilor Rd
Essendon North, 3021
Essendon North, 3021
(03) 9374 1988
I drive past China Max on an almost weekly basis. Never once had I thought to stop in, and why? Sadly because from the outside it looks like a theatre restaurant. Recently however we gave in for a couple of reasons. 1: we weren't bothered driving too far and 2: it is consistently in The Age Good Food Guide. Was there something more to this Essendon North eatery? Had I incorrectly judged a book by it's cover? I'm ashamed to say yes, yes I had.
Steamed Juicy Shanghai Pork Dumplings $6.90
Spicy Szechuan Dumplings $7.50
Crispy Duck $24
Chinese Broccoli in Oyster Sauce $16.50
Pork Ribs $23
Pan Fried Red Bean Cake $8.80
Banana Fritter with Syrup $6.80
Deep Fried Ice Cream $6.80
Steamed Juicy Shanghai Pork Dumplings was our first choice for the night and they were OK, a bit bland actually. However they were big dumplings with a generous amount of filling, but it was the well balanced, sweet dipping sauce they saved them.
I always order pretty much anything that has the words spicy or Szechuan in the description, Not only because I'm a glutton for punishment, but because I really like my food with a bit of bite. In my family we always have chilli on the table, whether it be in sauce format or raw. I just really like chilli. So I was a little disappointed by the lack of kick in these Spicy Szechuan Dumplings. Don't get me wrong, they were incredibly tasty, but just not spicy enough for me and my masochistic ways Maybe they were softened for the non Asians or maybe my husband and I just looked weak. Either way I will definitely order them again, but next time I will just say "extra spicy please".
Crispy Duck by name, crispy duck by nature. A very simple dish, with simple flavours. Really enjoyed this one. Lovely.
We figured we should get some veggies in somewhere so Chinese Broccoli in Oyster Sauce it was. Perfectly cooked and perfectly seasoned. Loved it, I could easily just have this and steamed rice. However that would mean we wouldn't have been able to tuck into the battered and deep fried pork ribs. One bite and I could feel my arteries start to clog from all the delicious fat.
No one does a fried dessert like the Chinese. The Pan Fried Red Bean Cake was an interesting choice as the paste itself wasn't sweet, but add the ice cream and voila-dessert. We figured that since we ordered a veggie dish, lets get a healthy fruit dish as well, so Banana Fritter with Syrup was up next. Oh so obscenely sweet, and the crunchiest batter of ever had on a banana. Now you can't go to a Chinese restaurant and not have the Deep Fried Ice Cream, even though you really shouldn't. Nothing in this is good for your body. Problem is, it's so yum that it is great for the soul. Total comfort eating.
The menu in this place is big, with a wine list to match. It is however a very stereo typical Chinese restaurant menu, it's not experimental and it won't challenge your taste buds or take you out if your comfort zone. Just tasty food.
The decor at Chinamax looks like it hasn't had a refurb since the day it opened, but who cares? They aren't here to win design awards(I hope, otherwise I'm sorry if I've insulted you), they are here to feed the North/Western population of Melbourne some decent Chinese food. It is affordable and considering the amount of kids around, I assume very family friendly. So jump in the car, drive over to Essendon North and have yourself a feast. Then join the gym and spend the rest of the year burning off all those calories.
Ratings out of 10
Would I return?Yes