Springvale, VIC 3171
First Taste is a franchise restaurant that serves Claypot rice as their speciality. The restaurant in Springvale is always crowded and I can see why. For as little as $9, you get a massive bowl of claypot rice with an assortment of accompaniments.
The restaurant itself is your standard Springvale style place, with simple tables and chairs. They've gone to a bit more effort and there are some decorations of wall hangings and these plastic fruit in jars. The ever popular large flat screen tv is also available, streaming Chinese cable tv all day so you can enjoy your favourite Cantonese dramas while eating.
The Wonton Noodle Soup is good, with a flavoursome broth and some "handmade" wontons. Can machines make wontons? Maybe food technology has advanced more than I thought, as I always thought all wontons were hand made.
On the left is the Pork Black Bean Claypot. It's quite good, with chunks of pork ribs covered in black bean. On the right is the Chicken and Mushroom Claypot, which is my favourite. I order this everytime, now that I've tried all the claypot rice. Something about the combination of flavours in this dish makes me love it so much. The chicken is nice and smooth and pan fried. The mushrooms has lots of flavour, with bits of Chinese sausage and spring onions adding to the flavour. However, my favourite part of this dish is to put huge slatherings of their chilli sauce (shown above), pour lots of their soy sauce (it's slightly sweet and tastes like it's been cooked off and hence not harsh but instead more subtle in flavour) into the rice and stir it all up. The rice is just sensational, with the crispy charred bits that stick to the side of the claypot my absolute favourite.
The restaurant is buzzing with people talking at all times, so if you don't like noise, probably not a good place for you. The service is actually very good, with the ladies all being extremely polite and helpful. I would recommend coming for a claypot rice, but they also do a variety of other rice and soup dishes. Their soups are also very good, with a wide range to choose from. I like their Chicken Feet soup as a starter before the claypot rice. A good place for a casual meal at extremely cheap prices.