Graduating from Edith Cowan University at the end of 2010, it was strange stepping back onto the campus in early August. My friend was working on campus and had asked me to stop by. I was having a lot of flashbacks since the campus hadn’t changed much. Being such a small university campus the food options have always been limited the just a couple cafes. It was nice to hear that a second mini cafe had opened up somewhere on campus, but what really got my attention was the student village. It has been completely redone, with the inclusion of a little restaurant/cafe on the corner.
Tucked into a corner of the student village, the cafe was relatively quiet initially on the sunny Monday afternoon, with a couple students waiting for their meals and a couple faculty sitting outside with coffees. There was plenty of tables and chairs available out side, and some seating available inside for anyone wanting to wait for the their take-away meals indoors. The cafe is small and open, selling both food, coffee and emergency student necessities like tampons -which may seem weird at first, but make complete sense with it’s student housing location and demographic. It’s also worth mentioning, Chatterbox has a strong focus on sustainability. The take-away box my meal came in is environmentally friendly, and the ingredients are primarily sources from local Western Australian produce.
As entered, the lady behind the counter immediately smiled and asked if she could help. After taking a minute to gander at the menu I approached the counter and placed my order. The lady explained to me it would take about 5-10 minutes to make the order as it was made fresh, and so I took a seat outside in the sunshine. When my meal was ready, the lady brought it to where I was seating and told me to help myself to cutlery and anything I needed from inside.
At Chatterbox you’ll get a simple, quick but fresh, no fuss meal that will fill you up on the cheap. The menu ranges from single Dim Sum snacks, noodle dishes, rice dishes, salads, spaghetti, thai and curries. I ordered the Teriyaki Fish with Rice for $6.50, which was one of the more expensive options on the menu believe it or not. The fish was crispy, the side salad fresh and the rice was well cooked. My only complaint would be that the teriyaki sauce was incredibly sweet for my taste, however for $6.50 I simply mixed in the sauce with the rice and couldn’t care less. The meal was filling, satisfying my hunger and in comparison to the tasteless ‘gourmet’ salad my friend had purchased from a competitor on campus for $9.50. She help but say several times over the meal that her salad selection was tasteless and a total rip off, reaffirming my choice.
Prices here are set low to cater to the students, ranging from $1.50 for a Pork Dim Sum to $7.50 for the Chicken Ramen Burger. Averaging about $5.80 a main meal, if I was a student on campus it would be hard to convince me to eat elsewhere, especially considering the alternative offerings and pricing.
Chatterbox is a gift to the campus. With such few competitors within walking distance, and many of the students on a tight student budget, it’s easy to see why Chatterbox is perfect for the location. The hidden student in me secretly can’t wait to try something else on the menu -maybe the Char Kway Teow- next time I’m visiting my friend on campus, and makes me wish Chatterbox was open when I was a student at ECU.
-The Grizzly Bear Perth