Mr Stonebowl

Jackie McMillan
31st Jul 2023

You need a strategy to dine at Mr Stonebowl. Their Burwood restaurant is ridiculously popular, so it’s best to arrive close to when it opens at 5pm. What the people queue for are well-priced, well-presented, contemporary Chinese dishes, often employing luxury ingredients. Once the restaurant fills, it can be up to 90 minutes (the maximum dining time) before any tables turn over. 

When you arrive, add your name to the sheet taped near the door, and take a number. There’s a covered tent to wait in, and metal stools for those who need them at the top of the ramp. Once you are inside things move quickly: you scan your table number to take you to the online menu. The circular symbol in the top right of the first screen will change the language to English. You know your order has been placed when staff place a printed ticket on your table, crossing off dishes as they arrive. 

Fried rice with abalone ($10.80) arrives first in a piping hot stone bowl: it’s moist and tasty with two pieces of abalone decorating it but lacks the promised truffle sauce. You can also eat abalone ($17.80) as eight, tender bite-sized pieces topped with caviar. Bone-in slices of beef spare ribs ($21.80) tenderised with wasabi and black pepper sizzle away in a stone bowl. Green capsicum is a crunchy star. For something unusual, we tried crispy milk rolls and soft chicken bones ($18.80) where battered chicken cartilage joins sweet milky custard spring rolls. Both are improved by requesting chilli sauce, though I’m still not sure I understand the combination. We end with a golden bowl of sea urchin tofu ($20.80). The silky tofu hides squid, perch and prawns, but the flavour so dominated by salty egg yolk it’s hard to get much from the dark, sea urchin roe topper. Portion sizes are couple-friendly, particularly the stone-bowl items.