Wall of awards, accolades and published articles
Readers, I can finally say that I have now dined at the super popular and famous ‘Vietnam Restaurant’. The family owned business is a longstanding establishment of Vietnamese food in the western suburbs and has been running for almost 30 years (now that is a mean feat)! One wall of the restaurant is dedicated to framed awards, letters, accolades and published articles; which is a testament to their popularity over the years. The restaurant is always filled to the brim with patrons and walk-ins usually result in either a table outside (if one can brave the chill during the colder months) or a turn away so bookings are essential – preferably weeks in advance to ensure your spot!
Our party of 3 made our booking a month in advance and upon arrival, the place was already buzzing. The space was tightly packed with patrons so it took a bit of maneuvering to get around but we got by with no hassles. Tables are draped in white table cloths, the restaurant was well lit and the restaurant exuded a certain ‘buzz’ in the air with patrons enjoying their meals and having a good time. We were ravenous and spied on our neighbouring tables dishes of bbq quails and skewered minced pork balls aka nem nuong – which happened to also be the ‘best’ dishes at Vietnam restaurant as touted by C.
The next question was, what else should we order? Being part Vietnamese myself, I don’t find myself eating Vietnamese out a lot as I readily have it as home and whatever I tend to order will be compared to what the mother makes anyway (it can’t be helped!). To avoid wasting any more time scanning over the rest of the menu, we decided on the ‘V2′ banquet at $29.90 per person, which entitled us to 6 dishes and jasmine tea. This worked out great as it included their popular dishes (that we’re here for) and gave us the chance to sample four other dishes that we would have otherwise not ordered.
The super popular bbq quails arrived and our eyes immediately lit up although T was a bit apprehensive at first. They’re marinated in lemongrass and chilli and are grilled until they’re slightly charred; the smell was permeating and got our taste buds going so we quickly dug in. I found the dish slightly cold but we proceed nevertheless and got our fingers dirty; it was fiddly and took a bit of time to get the meat off the bones but well worth the effort. The meat was tender, flavourful and juicy and had a pleasant slight tang when dunked into the lemon juice and pepper concoction. Their provided warm wet hand towels came in handy when tackling these babies.
Skewered Minced Pork Balls nem nuong, vermicelli noodles and lettuce
While we tackled the little birdies, the pork balls arrived along with the ingredients to make our very own cold rolls. Rice paper was dunked into the bowl of water provided to soften then laid out onto a plate. Lettuce, vermicelli, slices of pork balls and desired herbs such as mint and coriander leaves are neatly assembled on said rice paper before they’re rolled up into a cold roll. The cold rolls were generously dunked in the sauce with each mouthful a combination of fresh, flavourful and texturally exciting ingredients. The pork balls were caramelised, the meat soft and juicy with a sweet charred taste; then paired with fresh crisp lettuce and fragrant herbs and soft vermicelli noodles. A winning combination.
Rice paper for cold rolls
The food continued to come out before we finished off any of our earlier plates!
Crispy skin chicken with soya and shallot
Crispy no more by the time we got to it! The chicken pieces were surprisingly large and uninviting as fingers and hands were definitely needed (again) for this dish. Thank gosh for the provided hand towel!
Crispy king prawns with ginger and chilli
The deep fried prawns had a light fluffy batter around a juicy plump prawn with no sign of excess oil, however we all agreed that it was over salted and had to pair it with the combo rice (below) to cut through the saltiness.
Combination rice hot pot
Now this was something I’ve never had before. It was presented in a hot clay pot with a sunny side up egg on top. We were still battling through our cold rolls so the waitress offered to ‘combine’ the sunny side up egg with the rice and replaced the lid to keep the dish warm whilst we continued on with our earlier dishes. The rice had a sweet soy sauce throughout with chunky pieces of chicken and chinese sausage. It was interesting and different… but it was no comparison to mum’s special fried rice. >.<
There was a slight misunderstanding with the waitress at one point when she told us that we had to be done by a certain time (you’re kidding me right?). But alas, she was speaking to the wrong table! Good thing she was cause I wouldn’t have been a very happy camper if I was told to leave half way through my dinner without a prior warning. No one wants to be rushed when enjoying a good feed!
A criticism that must be mentioned is that all the food more or less came out one after the other, which wouldn’t have been too much of a problem if we could keep up! We couldn’t so that resulted in the latter dishes being eaten cold and a table full of dishes with little room for anything else.
Lots of food was shared between the trio of us, so naturally, we had to doggy bag the rest of it for lunch the next day.
Haven’t been here yet? I suggest you give it a shot but a word of warning, BRING YOUR APPETITE!
73 Addison Road
Pennington SA 5013
P 08 8447 3395
Tues-Sun 11.00am-3.00pm, 5.00pm-10.00pm