Miss Chu : 276 Toorak Rd, South Yarra / Shop 2 297 Exhibition St, Melbourne CBD

July 27, 2015 at 8:17 pm (Melbourne CBD, South Yarra, Toorak, Vietnamese) (, , , )

The original Vietnamese tuckshop, Miss Chu led the way in making Vietnamese street food widely accessible, before rice paper rolls and banh mi became takeaway staples.  The hipster-ification of daggy takeout has proven to be a profitable model in this era of instant gratification (so much so that it has been adapted for the souvlaki joint, with the kebab shop soon to follow).  The dine-in venue decor is a tongue-in-cheek nod to the queen of rice paper rolls’ background, complete with re-used coconut juice containers for water, shuttlecock light fixtures by the service windows and lamp shades fashioned from old-school ceramic bowls, the ones with the fish design that you can find at most Asian supermarkets (and which you’ll therefore find at my house, my grandma’s house, my aunt’s house….).

Miss Chu

Ordering is a tick-the-box exercise (it’s called efficiency, people).  In general, your best bet is to go for dishes not normally found on a standard Vietnamese restaurant menu, so skip the pho (broth lacks depth of flavour), curry (similarly lacking in complexity) and baguettes (somewhat dry and under-filled, a far cry from the fat pork rolls from your local hot bread store, which have you struggling to keep filling from busting out the other end as you tuck in).  There’s better value to be had with the salmon salad; cubes of seared salmon, blushing pink in the middle, rice vermicelli, mixed leaves and a rain of golden fried shallots, tied together by an intense dark soy dressing.  Banh cuon is a spin on a Vietnamese breakfast favourite, with rice noodle rolls encasing pork mince and wood-ear mushroom filling, dressed with more of that sweet soy sauce. Moreish spring rolls are also a winner, done in the northern style with rice paper skins that fry up super crispy.

Miss Chu - Salmon Vermicelli Salad

Miss Chu - Banh Cuon

MIss Chu - Spring Rolls

Rice paper rolls are somewhat pricey and hit-and-miss, the stand-out being the egg omelette rolls with avocado and sweet caramelised onion.

Miss Chu - Omelette Rice Paper Rolls

Beer, wine or coconut juice to drink, with coconut ice cream to finish and I’m happy.  Keep an eye on the specials board for the dessert of the day; you won’t want to miss the banana spring rolls.

Miss Chu - Coconut Icecream

Miss Chu - Banana Spring Rolls

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