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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Lord of the Fries, Melbourne

Late night munchies.

It's irrelevant that Billy and I have just eaten dinner. Wandering the streets of downtown Melbourne, alive and buzzing on a Friday night, we find new energy and appetite as the touristy but still endearing horse-drawn carriages clip-clop on by, iconic trams clanging bells as they hum past - just like a scene out of The Secret Life of Us.

I'd made no secret of my intent to Billy that I'd wanted to eat at Lord of the Fries. Because how could I not? Lord. Of the FRIES. Not only a celebration of fried food, but oh such punny wordplay on one of my favourite books.

We head down Elizabeth Street and find ourselves distracted by doughnuts. Spanish doughnuts. Churros. Its display case of wares, stacked into mini pyramids, hypnotically draws us in.

Savory cheesybite Vegemite $3.40

Savory and sweet, dipped in chocolate, or piped with filling, there is no end to the excess subjected to these ridged lengths of deep-fried dough. There are ones smothered in chocolate and then drizzled with more; others are shaped into horseshoe loops; the savoury versions come with a cream cheese filling. Churritos are miniature in length, served with pots of molten dark milk or white chocolate for dipping.

Savory cream cheese churro $3.40

Go for gold, I tell Billy, and he nods and orders the most decadent one we can find.

Nuts gourmet bonbon filled with caramel $3.95

The nuts gourmet bonbon filled with caramel is not for the diabetic. The chocolate-dipped baton is engorged with caramel and then smothered in a thick forest of crushed peanuts.

Caramel goodness

Billy snaps it open for the "money shot", the thick centre of caramel lazily stretching apart.

It's painfully sweet - even the savoury foil of peanuts is no match for the sugar-coma of caramel and chocolate. I'm not a fan of the doughnut itself either, which is a little doughy and chewy in texture--probably not helped by its unknown tenure in the display cabinet--and leaves a slight oily residue on the tongue.

Tray of sampler churro drizzled with caramel sauce

I'm lured back by the offer of free churro samples, these ones piping hot and fresh from the fryer. They're much better in flavour and texture, crunchy on the outside and soft in the middle, although they still feel quite heavy and a tad oily.

The sugar overload only reinforces my search for savoury. Salty greasy savouries, but savoury nonetheless.

Lord of the Fries

The backlit sign for Lord of the Fries is so bright it's almost blinding, a vision of salvation for the drunk and hungry. We approach the E-Street store, the original and first outlet of this Melbourne late night favourite, only to discover that they've just run out of the poutine sauce, and are directed to the Flinders Street branch across the road and around the corner.

Lord of the Fries menu

The queue at the Flinders Street outlet is constant. Almost everyone wants chips - the magic lies in which sauce you choose to douse your serving of deep-fried potato strips. Moving on from the more pedestrian mayonnaise, tomato, satay and barbecue sauce or throw gastronomic caution to the wind with spicy mango chutney and sour cream (Indian), or mayonnaise, peanut sauce and onion (oddly described as Asian).

I have only one target in mind - poutine, the French-Canadian specialty made with melted cheese curds and gravy.

Chip baskets

Hungry punters

Fries $3.95 with French-Canadian poutine sauce $1.25

The Lord of the Fries poutine isn't really poutine. It's actually grated cheese and gravy, although a response from the Lord of the Fries twitter account to my random tweet explains that "our Poutine has shredded cheese and not the traditional curds because we could not find curd without rennet in it".

Only later do I realise that everything on their menu is vegetarian or vegan. Even though there's no mention of this on the menu board, their burgers, nuggets, pies and sausage rolls are all made from textured vegetable protein. It's a commendable effort although I think they should rename the poutine as a more accurate "gravy with melted cheese".

It's still my idea of heaven. The chips, crunchy and hot, greedily soak up the pool of salty gravy and strings of (rennet-free) cheese. It's perfect late night food. I dig around for all the extra crispy bits buried at the bottom. We perch on the steps across the road at Federation Square, admiring the streetscape of Melbourne by night and the illuminated facade of Flinders Street station, our forks jabbing at fries with slowing speed until our bellies sigh with satisfaction.

Flinders Street station

Grab Your Fork visited Melbourne as a guest of Tourism Victoria for the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival. We visited Spanish Doughnuts and Lord of the Fries anonymously and paid for our meals personally.

> Read the next Melbourne post: Red Spice Road
< Go back to the first Melbourne Food & Wine Festival 2010 post

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Spanish Doughnuts on Urbanspoon

Spanish Doughnuts
Elizabeth Street, Melbourne, Victoria
(near corner of Flinders Street)

Tel: +61 (03) 9654 5577
Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

View Larger Map
Lord of the Fries on Urbanspoon

Lord of the Fries
Flinders Street Station, Melbourne, Victoria
(on Swanston Street opposite Federation Square)

Opening hours:
Monday to Thursday 10am - 10.30pm
Friday 9.30am - 2.30am
Saturday 9.30am - 5am

View Larger Map

E Street Store
2/26 Elizabeth St, Melbourne, Victoria
(corner of Elizabeth and Flinders Street)
Tel: +61 (03) 9654 5673
Opening hours:
Monday to Thursday 11am - 10pm
Friday to Saturday 11am - 4am
Sunday 10.30am - 9pm

Don't forget this Saturday is Earth Hour. At 8.30pm on 27 March 2010, homes, businesses, schools and community groups around the world are encouraged to switch off their lights for one hour as an indication of their awareness and commitment to reducing their carbon footprint.

The concept, which began in Sydney in 2007, saw approximately 2.2 million people and 2,100 businesses participate, with large pockets of our Emerald City plunged briefly into darkness. Since then, Earth Hour has truly gone global. In 2009, 88 countries joined in, and international landmarks like the Eiffel Tower in Paris, and Times Square in New York, switched off their lights. Find out what you can do and get more info here.
33 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 3/24/2010 02:04:00 am


  • At 3/24/2010 2:38 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Cheesymite churros? Fantastic!

  • At 3/24/2010 5:53 am, Blogger Pam said…

    The churros are amazing and sound delicious! I've never heard of them. Great post and now I'm starving!

  • At 3/24/2010 6:01 am, Anonymous Hannah said…

    I really feel that the nuts gourmet bonbon churro needed to have crispy bacon integrated into it somewhere too... :P

    Though yes, the money shot is fantabulous.

    And might I suggest a trip to Canada for real poutine? I'd like to live that one vicariously through you.

  • At 3/24/2010 7:56 am, Anonymous Annie said…

    wow, that Lord of the Flies place looks super cool...I love potatoes and fries and I'd be in absolute heaven in that shop!

  • At 3/24/2010 8:07 am, Blogger Stephcookie said…

    Oh my god those churros are INSANE. This post is so full of heart cloggingly naughty food, it feels wrong to be craving churros and chips at 8 in the morning...

  • At 3/24/2010 8:52 am, Anonymous The Extra said…

    Excuse me whilst I have an angiogram after reading this post.
    Food. Porn.

  • At 3/24/2010 9:08 am, Blogger Yas @ hungry.digital.elf. said…

    OMG. Churros with cheese?! WANT IT!!

  • At 3/24/2010 9:24 am, Anonymous Minh said…

    Secret Life of Us!! Oh man I loved that show, Evan was my not so secret crush. Mmm those chips look decadent :D

  • At 3/24/2010 9:34 am, Blogger Lilah said…

    I ate here like 3 times when I was in Melb last! I didn't realize their burgers weren't meat though? The mini cheeseburgers are AWESOME.

  • At 3/24/2010 10:48 am, Blogger joey@forkingaroundsydney said…

    I wasn't that big a fan of their fries when I was down during the Australian Open tennis a few years ago, but it's good to see it still has its prominent corner position opposite Flinders Street station.

  • At 3/24/2010 10:53 am, Anonymous Leona said…

    have you tried the french canadian poutine? Its the bomb! Blobby cheese curd = <3 <3 <3 lurveeeeee

    awww shame the fries place used grated cheese :( but hey anything for poutine ^_^

    My god those churros look soo GOOODD!!

  • At 3/24/2010 10:58 am, Anonymous billy@atablefortwo said…

    I think only you into the fried Helen, maybe I wasn't drunk enough to really fully appreciate a late night deep fry. :P

  • At 3/24/2010 11:00 am, Blogger Two fit and fun gals said…

    churros & fries what a mad late night combo hehe

    definitely would need to go for a midnight run!

  • At 3/24/2010 11:06 am, Anonymous Miss Dissent said…

    Bummer about the Poutine. I have been chasing it too, but that looks nothing like the original.

  • At 3/24/2010 11:43 am, Anonymous Jacq said…

    Shame the churros didn't taste as good as they looked... that churro with the chocolate, nuts and caramel looked awesome!

    If LOTF is vegan/vegetarian, what's in their nuggets then? Because I just assumed they were chicken nuggets...

  • At 3/24/2010 12:55 pm, Blogger OohLookBel said…

    Scoffing greasy fries late at night by Flinders St station - sounds so grungey. But so tasty!

  • At 3/24/2010 7:55 pm, Blogger nomnomnibblies said…

    oohhh everything looks so nice!!! i'm going down to melbourne for easter.. must try them out!! :D

  • At 3/24/2010 8:20 pm, Blogger Angie Lives to Eat (and Cook)! said…

    Fries and churros??? Together???


    Haha two of my fave foods.

  • At 3/24/2010 8:42 pm, Anonymous vgnlyf said…

    The nuggets are made from vegetable protein. Proves you don't have to eat meat to enjoy food.

    The vegan cheese is also a lot better than the shredded cheese, and dairy is rape anyway. :P

  • At 3/24/2010 9:10 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    That churro looks like a heart attack... I would so try it ^^! Hee hee pity about the dough tho.

    And wahhhh I sooo want to try LotF!!

  • At 3/24/2010 9:43 pm, Blogger YaYa said…

    A dedicated chip shop? WIN, WIN, WIN so the next thing is, when are LOTF coming to Sydney?

  • At 3/24/2010 9:54 pm, Blogger Simon Leong said…

    i can't remember if i saw this last time in melbourne or somewhere else in the world. great title for a shop. do you know how long they've been going for?

  • At 3/24/2010 10:11 pm, Anonymous penny aka jeroxie said…

    I wonder if both of you have 3 stomachs? I don't think I can deal with churros and LORD of the FRIES in one night...
    But am glad that you love the beautiful city :)

  • At 3/24/2010 11:53 pm, Blogger am.i.full said…

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • At 3/24/2010 11:56 pm, Blogger am.i.full said…

    woo i went past this place 2 weeks ago before the hail hit Melbourne! had the fries with the wasabi sauce and it was yumm. Reminded me of Japanese salad dressings!!!

  • At 3/25/2010 4:17 pm, Blogger Melange a Trois said…

    Those nutty bonbons look amazing!

  • At 3/25/2010 9:37 pm, Anonymous The Ninja said…

    Now all you need to do is pair the fries and sauce with Wicked Wings and you're on the road to heaven...

    Believe me. I've been there. Survived, too.

  • At 3/26/2010 1:59 am, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Anon - Cheesymite churros do boggle the mind!

    Hi Pam - Oh you must try some churros and soon :)

    Hi Hannah - Oh bacon in the caramel and chocolate churros... ooh, now you're talking! :) I would love to go to Canada for real poutine. Sign me up!

    Hi Annie - It's a great shop. I just wish we had one in Sydney!

    Hi Stephcookie - It's a shame I didn't get more photos of the churros. They had a tonne of varieties, although from the website it looks like they will be rapidly expanding to Sydney soon.

    Hi The Extra - Hurrah. Success!

    Hi Yas - lol. One or three?

    Hi Minh - Ha, me too :) I totally wanted to live in that apartment block! And mmm... chips and gravy is always good.

    Hi Kiki - It's crazy isn't it, but yes, apparently everything is vegetarian. Now I'm regretting now trying one of their burgers. They're meant to be great.

    Hi Joey - I think it's hard to go wrong with chips and gravy but I did think they had a good crunch factor. A few of the sauce combos sound rather strange but each to their own!

    Hi Leona - Alas I've never tried real poutine. I would love to try it one day!

    Hi Billy - Hey, I can always appreciate deep-fried. There's no accounting for taste. lol

    Hi Betty - Ha, what can I say, hanging out with food bloggers is always dangerous!

    Hi Miss Dissent - I'm sure there's a market for real poutine. Suze and I went to the Winter Festival last year hearing it was on offer, but it was nowhere to be found. Oh so sad.

    Hi Jacq - It was sad the churros wasn't that great but ah the chips more than made up for it. The LOTF nuggets are also made from textured vegetable protein - next time I'm in Melbourne I'm ordering one of everything "for research purposes". lol

    Hi Belle - Ha, it was the perfect end to our evening. Chips in the dead of night is oh-so-good.

    Hi nomnomnibblies - Ahh lucky you. Don't forget to try their burgers and nuggets, and report back on how you find them :)

    Hi Angie Lives to Eat (and Cook) - Well not together as such - definitely a 5min gap between them. lol

    Hi vgnlyf - Ha, that's one way of, er, looking at it! I do agree that vegetables can be tasty. Will definitely have to try the burgers and nuggets next time I'm down in Melbourne.

    Hi FFichiban - Ahh you'll have to get down to Melbourne soon. I reckon you could well be crowned LoTF yourself. lol

    Hi YaYa - I know. We definitely need one in Sydney! Late snackage is in seriously short supply!

    Hi Penny aka jeroxie - Ha, oh wait until you realise where we'd eaten dinner just before. lol. Melbourne is a great city - we both were really taken by its energy and vibe :)

    Hi am.i.full - Oh yes we were so lucky we missed the weekend of hail hell. Wasabi sauce does sound intriguing. I think you've sold me. Perhaps something to create at home!

    Hi Melange a Trois - The bonbonbs were quite spectacular to look at - excess ahoy!

    Hi The Ninja - Ahh I like a man with a plan. Sounds like the perfect combo. Am filing it for future reference!

  • At 3/26/2010 8:04 am, Blogger Fouad @ The Food Blog said…

    Awesome photography! I got type 2 diabetes just looking at the photos. So how does vegetarian gravy taste like? Is it any good?

  • At 3/26/2010 3:13 pm, Blogger Choux Choux said…

    oh man.... lord of the fries is so good but so bad for you. I love it though. 'Asian' is awesome, as is the 'african'. I'm so keen to try the 'italian'!!!!

  • At 3/29/2010 12:58 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi SydneyCider - The vegetarian gravy was tasty. It had a good salty umami flavour - I didn't even realise at the time it was vegetarian. Tasted like just normal gravy, in a good way :)

    Hi Bobby's Girl - Ahh I wish I'd had the time (and the stomach) to try out more of the menu. Will definitely stop by for more research on my next Melbourne trip!

  • At 4/01/2010 1:20 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Simon Food Favourites - Sorry, somehow I missed your comment. Lord of the Fries began in Melbourne in August 2004. Maybe one day they'll come to Sydney?

  • At 3/22/2013 7:58 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    When is LOTF coming to Perth, "Pleeeeeeaze!" We want it right now...come on over, we'll make you very welcome...


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