Flamboyant and personable Harry Hoang rose to the challenge of taking the reins of Tinh Tran’s successful restaurant and making it his own. The putrid pink walls of my recollections have been lost in favour of warm, modern decor. Waitresses wearing matching ao dai split to the waist over white pantaloons gracefully negotiate the tiny spaces between packed tables.
The crowds speak to the ongoing success of the restaurant, but it’s now mostly Westerners. Harry has removed the MSG, upped produce quality and shortened cooking times. Overall I’d say this has dampened the flavour of the dishes, but in the Tender Beef Cubes ($12), this allows the grain fed yearling beef to be the hero.
I enjoyed the Grilled Pork Skewer ($10),
but our Crispy Quail ($9.50) arrived a little too crispy for my liking.
The current Crispy Pancake ($12.50) didn’t live up to the splendour of my memories.
Newer dishes like Harry’s aromatic Beef Curry ($17) wins fans at my table;
while lettuce leaf boats of Duck Salad ($16.50) feel a bit gritty from dried brown rice powder.
The Sweet and Sour Prawn Soup ($6.50) didn't grab me, but that probably more about my own taste than anything more sinister.
As you enjoy dishes like Stuffed Dried Mushrooms ($10), drink from a small list of reasonably priced wines like the Stonefish Sauvignon Blanc ($6.50/glass, $25/bottle) to save a trip to the bottle shop.
I do like the fun of cook-at-the-table dishes like Bonfire Prawns and Chicken ($22), though the absence of staff (who seem to have heat-proof fingers) did lead to a minor spot fire during our meal. Lesson for the day - do not use a flammable serviette to shield your fingers when lifting searing hot lid of flaming pot.
318 Victoria Road, Marrickville
Ph: (02) 9560 8673