A little piece of contemporary Vietnam has popped out a bamboo shutter onto Bourke Street. Located right down by the busy William Street junction, it’s an unexpectedly brilliant hole-in-the-wall hawker food experience that I am already dying to revisit.
As well as exceptional food, the talented Nahji Chu has managed to create a quasi-oasis where hands of green bananas sway, leafy green palms border and an uber-cool sense of design extends right down to the biodegradable banana leaf serving plates.
Vegetarian fresh rice paper rolls have never had as much flavour as these Free-Range Egg Omelet, Avocado and Balsamic Caramelised Onion ($6/2 pieces) offerings. She also has a number of other selections in the fresh roll category, but it really was the vegetarian one that stood out for me. The dipping sauce is also excellent.
Nahji’s house-made Traditional Peking Duck Pancakes ($2.20) are thinner and more pliable than Sydney’s best stalwarts. The pretty teapot contains Genmaicha Green Tea ($1.50) which is quite lovely, and matches the cuisine nicely.
She’s even renovated the humble Deep Fried King Prawn Spring Roll ($4.50/3 pieces), and it’s definitely added value.
BBQ Pork Char Sui Buns ($2/each) are a bench mark dish for me; these combine fluffy white dough with a generous, mostly savoury filling, and I’d order them again.
I also tried Scallop and Prawn Steamed Dumplings ($4.50) which I enjoyed a lot too, great casings and fresh, tasty filling!
My darling little take-away box of Steamed Coconut Mousse in Pandan Leaf ($3/2 pieces) lasted about two blocks before I had to try them. Amidst tiny crunches of water chestnut, I laughed like a mad woman – yep, they’re that good. Even if they were not so tasty, they'd be worth getting just to see the little folded leaf baskets she's made to contain them... I could show you, or I could force you to get down there and eat them... yep, go find out for yourself.
Time for a restaurant…
1/150 Bourke Street, Darlinghurst
Ph: (02) 8356 9988