“Pho is a beef noodle broth,” says Mylisa Nguyen (ex-LuMi Dining) emphatically, before continuing: “there’s nothing vegetarian in Vietnamese food.”
Salty, sweet, sour and... not. Fried Chicken Ribs ($10) with chilli-lime glaze were touted as the entrée to choose if you like it hot, but they lack any sort of real chilli kick.
In the week that former Prime Minister Gough Whitlam died, I spent time in his old electorate, Werriwa. I was there visiting Fairfield RSL, touted as the gastronomic destination of the West.
Bánh mì – these tasty Vietnamese baguettes continue to roll out across town. This means you no longer have to take the trek down to that ever-popular hole in the wall, Marrickville Pork Roll, for your crusty French bread, pork, pate and pickled vegetable fix.
Dining at Bay Tinh is like a trip down memory lane. While I can’t claim to have been dining here for all of its twenty-eight year history, I have spent many an evening in the (previously putrid pink) space, albeit mostly when it was in the hands of predecessor and founder, Tinh Tran.
This spot has rapidly become my go-to spot when I’m sick, hung-over or otherwise avoiding scoping new restaurants. Though their menu is monumental, I feel like my last four visits have given me a good overview. My go-to dishes on a hot day are the Smoked Duck ($20) slices accompanied by seasonal fruit salad, or the same bird cooked in five spice then served in a Pickled Lotus Stem Salad ($20). They’re awfully good at knowing when to stop whilst cooking squid – it’s best grilled Fishing Village-Style with Chilli and Garlic ($24) against the honey/toffee pleasure of Murray’s Angry Men Pale Ale ($9). Half the fun of Vietnamese is wrapping stuff with fresh greens and lightly pickled carrot.
Only in Bondi could you get away with ironically calling your restaurant the ghetto. Hats off to Nahji Chu of Misschu fame for parking her new project next door to her Bondi Tuckshop. (Just look for the hipster bike.) I’m confident that even those without Irish blood will be converted by the Vietnamese-spud fusion.
As I’m sure you’ve already got your fill of Sydney’s best this issue, I thought I’d tell you about a few of Sydney’s next big things...
Get a taste of Sydney’s next-gen Vietnamese, at this contemporary Marrickville Road entry. Park yourself under a looming ceiling of Chinese theatre masks to delve into the almost intimidating menu. A 333 Vietnamese Beer ($8) will take the edge off, against tasty Pork Stuffed Cassava Croquettes ($8) from the well-priced bites list.
Taking over a successful restaurant is a scary proposition. You’re certain to get a backlash from diners who miss the old ways. For Harry Hoang, who took over Marrickville’s famous pink palace, Bay Tinh, I was one of those haters!