Wat Da Pho / South Melbourne
Wat Da Pho, a newish Vietnamese restaurant located in the heart of South Melbourne. Authentic Vietnamese cuisine with a specialty in… Pho! If you love Pho, you’re in for a treat. If you don’t know what Pho is, you’re also in for a treat and if you don’t love Pho… who are you?
The decor sets this place apart from your typical pho restaurants around Melbourne, mostly spotted in Richmond, Footscray or Springvale. The menu also offers something more simple, Vietnamese food noobs, you can’t really go wrong as there is only 3 entree’s, 3 types of Pho (Vietnamese noodle soup) and 3 desserts.
They have chosen to dress this place up nicely in a cheap-but-not-nasty kind of way. Traditional ingredients, photo’s from Vietnam, pots and pans are just some of the elements used to give this place a modern feel and also tie in the roots of their business - Simple yet delicious Vietnamese cuisine.
The ambiance was warm and casual. The furniture and cleanliness is a lot nicer than the cheap nasty plastic you get in Chinatown or other cheap asian restaurants.
Pineapple & Passionfruit Smoothie - A great drink to start off with as Vietnamese cuisine is quite light. This was refreshing and delicious. Perfect for a hot day, and a generous portion for $5.50 They also do some alcoholic smoothies which i’m yet to try, but they sound
equally more delicious.
Condiments are a big deal in Vietnamese cuisine, its great to see they have an abundance of fish sauce, hoisin sauce and the best Sriracha ever (Huy Fong Foods). I could not live without that stuff, and it works perfectly as a Pho topping. Just looking at the condiments was enough to get my tastebuds excited.
Step aside taco’s, you have some competition. Rice paper rolls seem to be the hottest new food in Melbourne recently, with multiple vietnamese restaurants capitalising on the rising popularity of rice paper rolls. Good on them I say, as the more rice paper rolls we get, the happier and healthier we are!
Nick and I had to get all the rice paper rolls, mainly because I ordered. Lemongrass pork, prawn and chicken avocado. They were all delicious, my favourite one was the prawn, although it was the smallest, not sure if it was meant to be. The hoisin sauce was a bit boring compared to other places, it would have been nice to see some crushed nuts in there. Anyway, it’s not about the sauce, the verdict comes down to the rice paper rolls, luckily they were fresh and delicious and only left me wanting more. They had a vegetarian/tofu one too which I am yet to try! Let me know how it is.
Condiments aren’t the only thing in Vietnamese food that really makes the meal your own. They often have fresh vegetable add-ons served to the side so you can add as much or as little flavours as you like. Bean sprouts, thai basil, vietnamese mint, fresh cut chilli, and lime.
This was for the Pho. We got the delicious rare beef pho. Fresh flavours and good quality ingredients. I felt like I could ‘trust’ this food a lot better than a typical asian joint down Chinatown.
The broth was light and refreshing. The noodles were cooked well, and the beef was nice and tender. The bean sprouts added a nice little crunch while a bit of pepper seasoned the soup. I went a little overboard with the condiments, as I always do. Be extra careful with the chilli, it can get quite hot. It’s a lot easier to ‘add’ flavour than it is to ‘take away.’
We also got ‘Da Sticks’ Honey sesame chicken on rice. They were tasty and well seasoned. Simple.
Thank god I don’t have to travel into the city for Vietnamese food anymore. Wat Da Pho definitely brings something different to South Melbourne and it looks like all the other Vietnamese restaurants need to step up their game. Welcome to my stomach Wat Da Pho!
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Wat Da Pho
212 Clarendon Street
Etto / South Melbourne
Melbourne’s hottest new pasta joint ‘Etto,’ has opened up in my local area and i’ve fallen in love. Coming from a graphic design background, this sexy branding caught my attention.
After setting such a high standard from their branding, I was anxious to see how good the food would be. Despite seeing similar typography/branding around, Etto has a unique style and a great sense of authenticity in delivering the best ‘Italian street pasta’.
Pasta is one of my favourite things in the world, so I was excited to see a place which specialises in fresh pasta.
Cute simple interior with a modern design, seating around 10 people inside. The ambiance was laid back and warm with a fun, family friendly environment.
Outside seating available for rush hour or outdoor friendly days, although I think majority of the customers choose the take-away option. I wouldn’t blame them, as the food comes in a trendy brown paper bag. Perfect for lunches, dinner, or an afternoon snack if you’re a fatty.
The beautiful typography is carried all the way through their branding, with the menu including info-graphics of pasta. The deal is - you pick your pasta, and then you pick your sauce to stir through, or a salad. It’s impossible to go wrong, as everything in the menu looks delicious.
There’s no need to fear if you don’t know what “rigatoni” or “pappardelle” or “tagliatelle” is. Etto has fresh pasta all labeled or info-graphicised for your learning pleasure. And if you’re still stuck, i’m sure a little bit of human interaction won’t hurt. The staff here are very friendly.
Lauren got the smoked salmon and roast capers with dill, rocket and lemon infused olive oil with desiree potato gnocchi. I had a few bites and was in gnocchi heaven.
Gnocchi was ultra fluffy and moist, and sauce was deliciously flavoursome. I would have chosen this sauce if I liked rocket - it’s one of the very few ingredients I am still learning to like.
Justine ordered the basil and pine nut pesto in a light cream sauce with toasted herb pine nuts. Delicious pesto flavour and once again a delicate light and fluffy gnocchi.
Pesto has a tendency to be quite rich, which was also applied onto this dish. I personally love pesto, and enjoyed the 3 spoonfuls I managed to steal.
My choice on the menu was the smoky pancetta carbonara with crunchy breadcrumbs in a light white wine cream sauce. I got it with spinach tagliatelle. No regrets, and a rare occurrence - no food envy!
A great carbonara sauce, with excellent texture and crunch added by the breadcrumbs. The sauce was light and creamy and releasing a beautiful flavour without overpowering the delicious smoky pancetta. The spinach tagliatelle added a bit of green to the dish to make it a bit ‘healthier.’
At first glance, I judged the serving size as it was tiny and was immediatley dissapointed - however, by the end of our meals, we full and very satisfied. The girls even had about 4 gnocchi pieces left over (which I ate of course.) At around $12 a dish, this pasta is great quality and excellent value. I will definitely be back to try the rest of the menu.
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Etto Italian Street Pasta
251 Clarendon Street
5 Stars Vietnamese / Christchurch
5 Stars Vietnamese Restaurant is the best Vietnamese restaurant in Christchurch, and i’m not just saying that because my mum owns it. A warm welcoming ambiance with a very casual and cheap menu.
Fresh Spring Rolls/Rice Paper Rolls. Whatever you like to call them, they are divine, fresh, healthy and the sauce is amazing!
Sugarcane Prawns, if you have never tried these, I highly recommend you do.
Bánh xèo, is a traditional vietnamese savoury pancake, filled with a mixture of things. We had pork, prawn, bean sprouts and fresh herbs. Delicious and filling. The sauce is amazing.
Spicy seafood pho. Pho is a Vietnamese noodle soup, usually served with rice vermicilli noodles.
Rare beef pho, this broth was deliciously flavorsome.
Lemongrass Chilli Chicken, beautiful fresh flavours as expected.
If you’re looking for a nice, cheap, healthy, BYO restaurant, 5 Stars is the best. Say hi to my mum.
5 Stars Vietnamese Restaurant
Blok M Cafe / Melbourne
The cafe I chose to go to was packed for lunch, so a few meters down Little Bourke St, I found this express Indonesian eatery, called Blok M.
Blok M was fairly quiet, but the dishes looked good on the wall so I gave it a chance.
A casual ambiance wit a low-key cafeteria feel. Perfect for students/low budgets. The walls are filled with information about Blok M, in Jakarta, the main inspiration behind this restaurant.
A great menu full of Indonesian dishes at a very affordable price! You could go for the classic nasi goreng or mi goreng, but I dare you to try something different.
I got the Ayam Balado (Chicken Balado) - The sauce is incredibly tasty, a great amount of spice, balanced by a flavorsome sweetness. The chicken had a delicious crunchiness to it, assisted by the traditional-indo fried onions.
03 9600 2534
380 Little Bourke St
Melbourne, VIC 3000
Shanghai Noodle House / Melbourne
Shanghai Noodle House is one of many little chinese restaurants in Chinatown. It’s a pretty cool place to go for a quick lunch. “Nothing fancy” - in the good cheap asian-nothing-fancy way.
Cheap ambiance, like most things from China but I like it. It means they are real/authentic, as long as the food tastes good, who cares about the cheap furniture, the hello kitty aprons and mis-spelt menus.
These pan fried pork dumplings were standardly good, but maybe try the steamed prawn ones, I heard they are amazing.
Roast duck on udon noodles and bok choi, interesting presentation. Flavorsome dish, fairly cheap, and satisfying.
Shanghai Noodle House
03 9662 9380
242 Little Bourke St
Melbourne, VIC 3000
La Camera / South Yarra
La Camera is an Italian restaurant that has nothing much to do with cameras, in fact, translated to english it means “The Room.”
My friend J from Christchurch and I, are graphic designers and we were searching for a quick and cheap lunch. Despite the ugly cheap looking table talker design, the price caught or eye. (And at least it wasn’t Comic Sans.)
The restaurant had a casual Italian bistro kind of vibe, authentic Italian dishes on the menu, casual chalkboard signs, foreign staff and fresh red paint.
Outdoor seating is available, fairly quiet, standard decor throughout the restaurant.
I never really had much risotto growing up because I’m asian, but today I gave the Prawn and Calamari Risotto a try, with no regrets. I enjoyed the acidity of the tomatoes and napoli sauce balanced with the seafood broth. The portion was just right for lunch, but I wanted more.
J got the Risotto Pollo, a simple dish with chicken, mushrooms, semi-dried tomatoes and baby spinach. A subtle creamy texture with vibrant flavors coming through. It was good, I developed a little bit of food envy.
La Camera Restaurant & Bar
03 9827 8531
446 Chapel St
Pancake Dessert House / Melbourne
Pancake Dessert House. A place where no-one orders pancakes or dessert, nor is it a house. At least the bi-line was a bit more accurate, but it’s not like you’re suppose to take that seriously either, as it’s set in Comic Sans. Typical confusing chinese branding.
Not a single Caucasian in sight, the ambiance is very “contemporary asian fast food,” so I guess they nailed that one right. A very young asian vibe, and a comfortable spot for an express lunch, if you’re asian. (White people will stand out.) A lot of delicious chinese dishes on the menu for a very cheap price, I forgot to check if they did pancakes or desserts.
I was tossing up between the lemongrass chicken on rice or this house special pork chop on rice. The lemongrass chicken was served with a little bit of green to the side, and a pan fried egg on top of rice. The pork chop was served with sauce and rice. It was so boring compared to the chicken dish the customer next to me had! #foodenvy. The pork chop was nice and crispy, flavorsome too. The sauce was like sweet and sour sauce combined with black bean sauce and onions. I enjoyed it but I wish I had ordered the other dish instead!
Pancake Dessert House Eatery
03 9663 1400
18/200 Bourke St
Loving Hut / Richmond
The Loving Hut is a famous(vegan famous) international restaurant chain. Located on Victoria Street in Richmond, which has a lot of vietnamese/asian fusion restaurants. They provide a few classic asian dishes with a unique vegan spin.
The ambience and décor of this place is fairly boring. It has a standard cheap asian restaurant feel with the plastic tablecloths and chopsticks/cutlery on table. They need to fix the door too, it didn’t shut properly and a cold breeze was creeping in.
Vegan Chao Kuey Teaw(Malaysian fried thick rice noodles.) was good, it tasted how I expected it to. This use to be one of my favourite dishes when I was younger. My dad use to cook it, and unfortunately this vegan take on the dish didn’t come close to my dads version, but maybe i’m bias.
This vegan take on Thai Red Curry contained lychee’s and dates; as if vegans weren’t creative enough! The lychee gave the curry a surprisingly delicious sweetness and texture. The date flavour was coming through too, which was unique, but eating the date dominated the flavor of the curry, which I didn’t really enjoy. The curry flavour was great, very spicy and flavoursome. I found the red peppers a bit annoying to eat, I asked myself why didn’t the chef cut them up for me, was it because i’m not vegan? I was pleased with the dish, unique, aromatic and tasty.
This was my favourite dish that came out, Assam Eggplant, the vibrant basil flavour was superb. The curry was vibrant and flavoursome and the eggplant was cooked perfectly. The only downside is they had some mock meat in the dish - but it didn’t taste too bad.
Raw lemon and raspberry cheesecake, it was good, but I only got 2 tea spoons.
This fruit salad with ice cream was simply average, and averagely simple. Some fresh fruit (good) and So Good soy ice cream(average). Not an amazing dessert to end the night, neither was the Tiramisu, some foul flavour dominating the dessert(possibly almond essence), and it lacked coffee flavour.
Eating vegan is good for you, and the earth.
03 9427 8916
242 Victoria St
Pink Ginger / South Yarra
Pink Ginger on Chapel Street makes cheap fast Japanese food. It’s situated right in front of Fitness First on Chapel Street, South Yarra which means a lot of their customers are gorilla juiceheads, fashionistas and gay couples with dogs. I was lucky enough to see a hybrid of all three. The ambience was very old-cheap-15-metre-lane-arcade-before-you-reach-Fitness-First-esque. The staff are lovely and Japanese food is healthy, no wonder all the gym buffs come here.
They have a few different things to choose from on the menu, all reasonably cheap. I heard good things about their sushi, but I was hungry and got a bento box instead. The salad was good, the rice was good, seaweed salad was good, but the chicken was not my cup of chicken. I felt like I was served a whole baby chicken, or its mother with large breasts. Too meaty, oversized which cock blocked the teriyaki flavoring trying to come through. Packed with protein, great for the gym bunnies, but for a scrawny little guy like me, I was filled up by 4 pieces so I couldn’t eat the rest. #firstworldproblems #imnotthatscrawny
402 Chapel Street
Na Siam / Melbourne
After saving up a few dollars by skipping a couple of meals, I could finally afford a cheap dinner out. So Luke and I headed across the road to the local Thai takeaway restaurant. I know it’s takeaway restaurants aren’t amazing, but it beats the effort of budgeting $5 cooked meals at home with missing ingredients, risking dissatisfaction and or depression. Na Siam’s menu is simple, you can choose a dish quickly and get it over and done with.
The owners were friendly. They don’t seem to get a whole lot of business so, this made it comfortable for a quick and casual after work dinner, not being surrounded by dumb people (after long hours of dealing with people at work.) Stark takeaway ambience, almost like a waiting room, but thank god I don’t have to do the dishes.
Thai Red Curry, I didn’t get food poisoning and it was only $8.90. Who can complain with that? They also went to the extra effort to dish it up in proper plates and bowls this time, (It was plastic last time,) perhaps it’s because they saw me taking photos of the whole place - or maybe they are just nice people. Oh and the curry was pretty tasty too, creamy, and flavoursome. Value for money.
Somewhere on King Street
Dumpling World / Melbourne
Dumpling World is a dumpling house/chinese restaurant on Collins street near Southern Cross Train Station.
This casual eatery is a simplistic, but a bit bland. Appropriately prepared with soy sauce, vinegar and chilli oil condiments on every table for dumplings. The service was mediocre, much like any other casual asian restaurant.
Amy and I got beef dumplings, we were disappointed to see that these were steamed and not pan fried. The flavour was overpoweringly meaty and the gluggy texture made them sickly and difficult to eat.
We also got kung pao chicken, a classic chinese dish. This was also very average. The chicken was of low quality and all the elements looked rushed/sloppy.
Disappointed to be served bad dumplings at a restaurant that calls themselves “Dumpling World.” Best to go somewhere in Chinatown for better dumplings.
Located on Bridge Road in Richmond, is a little Sushi bar/Korean/Japanese restaurant called Tokyo House. Surprisingly good sushi, and good food too.
The set out is small, much like a regular sushi bar. The sushi is fresh, and they have great vegetarian/vegan sushi rolls available as well. Including teriyaki tofu and sweet potato. They also have brown rice sushi and a huge selection on the menu. They have the Japanese classics, bento box, teriyaki, unagi, sashima, as well as some authentic Korean, bul go gi, and bi bim bap.
If you are after some variety, the Bento boxes are great with a good selection available. Today I got the Beef Salad, with three little rice balls, and salad with Japanese dressing. This was delicious, the beef was cut short ribs with a sweet teriyaki flavour.
If you feel like some good Japanese or Korean food, head to Tokyo House and try out some dishes!
03 9429 0388
228 Bridge road
Richmond, VIC 3121
Raymen Ya is located down a secret hideaway lane down Melbournes GPO. Famous for their Ramen, which is a Japanese style noodle soup.
Postal lane provides a great environment, the busy little lane has a ‘fast paced Melbourne’ ambience. The lane provides a good selection of outdoor and indoor seating.
This was my first visit, so I decided to go with their specialty “Charsu Ramen”. Charsu is thinly sliced pork. I got it in a ‘meal’ which included pan fried gyoza and green tea (real green tea, not the crappy stuff). The gyoza was the perfect little entree. Crisp and tasty.
The ramen had flavour, but a little bit salty for my taste. I also would have preferred my egg to be soft boiled, but it was hard boiled. That’s me being forking picky though, I enjoyed the meal/experience. I was with great company (Nick), and ramen is the perfect meal on a rainy/cold day. The bento boxes also looked amazing, perhaps that’s what i’ll try on my next visit!
03 9654 5838
25G Melbourne GPO 350 Bourke St
Melbourne, VIC 3000