I don't usually raise eyebrows at prices of food. I'm the sort who'll merrily pay for any (except the celebrity chefs) restaurant in London. Although I think the atas chicken rice at a certain hotel in Singapore is grossly over-rated and over-priced. Sydney isn't expensive either. But I see that Melbourne prices are quite different, on the average. I sputtered in mild shock at the bill of A$70 for dinner at Noi Thai.
It was just a casual eatery serving Thai street food. The 2 of us had 4 dishes of calamari, tom yam soup with prawns, stir-fried beef in basil and beans and a vegetarian green curry. We didn't have any drinks at all. The redeeming points- the ingredients were good, vegetables were plentiful and crunchy. They didn't tone down on the spices in the tom yam yung. Generous servings. We had rice. Did I mention that our usual Thai jasmine rice is A$2.50 per person? The little pot contained enough for 2 hungry adult males.
I now understand why all other tables of 2 diners only ordered a maximum of 3 dishes. It wasn't a rip-off, but it was pricey. And Noi Thai serves the rough sort of street food, mind you, not the delicate Thai cuisine in a fine-dining setting.
I haven't been to Melbourne in 10 years, so inflation is to be expected. People probably say the same about Singapore. But I just flew in from Shanghai which is like wayyy cheaper. So this is kinda a little jolt to the system. From a scan of online menu prices and reviews, dining out is going to be a pricey affair, satisfaction not guaranteed. The next tier will be very weird restaurants in Chinatown, fast food and pies. In this case, I very much rather splash out on say, Cutler and Co.