PROFILE BY BEST RESTAURANTS
Humble sounding in name only, this eatery is rich in design with dark timber finishes, slate tiled floor and sophisticated feature walls. It is lit with petite red lanterns and shell-like twirly-wirlies hanging aglow from the ceiling. An intimate space, it has generously padded chairs which welcome comfort. Its concertina window opens onto Pulteney Street, with outdoor tables for sunny, sidewalk dining. The frosted glass panel entrance is stencilled with lotus flowers. They continue on the main wall and are reflected in the mirrored one opposite. Owners chef Tuan and his (pretty as a lotus flower) wife Loan, are at hand to make your visit a personable one. Like the decor, their food moves away from typical Vietnamese. It is a mix of Asian flavours, not for purists looking for an entirely traditional card.
Tuan is proud of his cold rolls, "you won't find small shrimp in them," he assures, " I use sliced whole prawns. When you look at them, you will want to eat them!" He is right. Upon sight, the translucent skins of the rolls are plumped with iceberg lettuce, bean sprouts and fragrant mint. Halved prawns run their length. It is the dipping sauce, however, that makes this dish memorable with hot, sweet and sour flavours. "Wet" dim sims are large, moist meatballs of minced chicken, carrot, onion and chestnut in a light tomato broth. The beaut part is the deliciously sinful stick of fried dough (Chinese bread) that they come with. It is meant for dunking, if it makes it that far. It is shamefully easy to polish off – very quickly – by itself. Salt and pepper soft shell crab, roast pork hotpot and barramundi with Vietnam sauce offer variety in mains. Desserts feature a rainbow of Vietnamese jellies with sweet beans and coconut.