Zero Mode, Box Hill

Cafes, Eat, Melbourne / 11 September 2019

Zero Mode will test the mind and challenge the senses with its Asian inspired menu.

Like most Melburnians, I love a weekend brunch. But even though many cafes beautifully execute a smashed avo on toast, sometimes you’re in the mood for something a little different to kick start your weekend.

Opening its doors in Box Hill only a couple of months ago, Zero Mode is fast becoming a popular choice for those seeking a unique dining experience. The brains behind One Plus Piece, Cain Xu, launched Zero Mode to challenge our senses. Deriving its name from the Cantonese word ‘mao’ meaning ‘nothing’, Zero Mode seeks to ‘make something out of nothing’.

Zero Mode interior

Adjoined to boutique art series hotel The Chen, Zero Mode’s modern and airy 80-seater space features a grey and white colour pallet, which allows the food to be the star of the show. With its Heston-esque Asian menu, Zero Mode treats patrons to breakfast, lunch and dinner daily.

Start with a Seven Seeds coffee or a Zero Mode tea, all delightfully served in crockery made of coffee husks, while perusing the inventive menu.

Zero Mode Coffee

If you can’t seem to break your routine of avo in the mornings, try the “Happily Avo After”. Not quite your typical avo on toast, this dish cleverly comprises avocado mousse as the avocado’s flesh and spicy salmon tartare as the pip, served with parmesan cheese, fish roe, and poached egg on organic sourdough.

For the sweet toothed out there, the ‘Wild West Waffle’ will hit the spot and is oh so Instagrammable. A cloud of fairy floss will arrive at your table, concealing underneath crispy chicken, fried egg, Sriracha maple bacon and chilli sauce on a house made waffle.

Zero Mode waffle

A must-try dish is the ‘Boozy Broth Ramen’. Expecting to be served a typical steaming bowl of broth and noodles, I was presented with what appeared to be a large, foamy beer and a bowl of dry noodles. One sip of the ‘beer’ revealed it was in fact, flavoursome chicken ginseng broth with egg white foam. Pour the broth over the karage chicken, house-made noodles, kimchi and fungus, and voila! A delicious bowl of ramen.

Zero Mode Ramen

The ‘Spice up your life burger’ will indeed ignite your tastebuds.  Crispy Chinese five spice chicken, creamy slaw, bacon, jalapenos, cheese and sriracha mayo, is the perfect combination of tastes and textures.

Zero Mode Burger

If your mode is for something healthy, a variety of bowls are also on offer, ranging from fish, meat and vegetarian options. Try the beautifully fresh ‘King salmon mode’, with pickled radish and ginger, edamame, seaweed, been curd and chilli mayo.

Zero Mode bowl

Dinner at Zero Mode will also have you salivating, with a range of Asian-inspired tapas style dishes. Indulge in the Crispy Dumplings with chilli paste, peanuts and coriander, or the Pineapple Pork Belly with cinnamon grilled pineapple, glazed pork belly, crispy bacon and coconut. A variety of deconstructed sushi mains are also available, including the Wagyu Wagyu with tempura nori, sushi rice, 9+ wagyu beef, olive jam, foie gras, wasabi paste and crispy prosciutto. Grab a cocktail while you’re there, such as the ‘Galaxy Mode’ featuring butterfly pea flower infused gin, simple syrup, grapes, mint and soda.

Whether you’re heading out for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner, Zero Mode will make something of your dining plans. So get in the ‘zero mode’ to tantalise your senses, even if you do opt for your favourite avo brekky!