My friend had claimed Vinh Ky (114 Victoria Street, Richmond) to be his favourite restaurant along the Victoria Street strip - a claim well worth investigation, naturally. It serves Vietnamese and Chinese food - combining Asian cuisines seems to be a Melbourne phenomenon that I'm rather dubious about, after growing up in Sydney with all its excellent single-Asian-cuisine restaurants. But, if they do it well, I am happy to be converted.
Still hungover from New Year's Eve, we trotted into the sparse and well air-conditioned restaurant and were quickly seated. The staff weren't the most cheery, but usually seemed to be floating around when we needed someone.
Our entrees were Chinese sausage (one of my faves; it was done pretty well here) and spring rolls that you wrap up in lettuce leaves (new to me, but fun, and tasty!).
|Spring rolls in lettuce leaves|
Waiting for our food, we entertained ourselves by watching our teacups floating around on the table. The tables are magic! No, really! The cups kind of slide around magically by themselves - no human interference required! Ahem. Anyways.
My friend was all for the mango beef as a main, but -- alas! They'd run out. (How a restaurant can run out of mangoes in summer in Australia - especially one across the road from Woolworths - is beyond me.) So we settled for second best: beef with plum sauce. I'd kinda hoped for a purple-coloured sauce, but apparently that's not what plum sauce looks like. Nevertheless, it was pretty good, and a nice contrast to the fish with ginger and shallots dish that we also got:
|Beef with plum sauce|
|Fish with ginger and shallots|
The table behind us ordered deep-fried ice-cream for dessert, so naturally that suddenly looked very appealing. They bring it out with a sugar cube on top that has been lit, so a little flame is dancing on top of the deep-fried blob. I imagine it would be a hot-and-cold-sensory experience, but couldn't tell you for sure, because... they'd also run out of that! Sad face. The table behind us had gotten the last serves. Stupid kids. (Kidding.)
The man was nice about it, and offered to bring regular ice-cream, but we declined, because, frankly, regular ice-cream sounds like poo after you've seen a dancing flame of deep-fried goodness pass you by. So we went to The Vic for a Frangelico and lime instead. Always a winner.
I liked Vinh Ky, but was disappointed by the missing awesome foods! Then again, on New Year's Day I suppose most restaurants would have a hard time knowing how many people to cater for. It could be their busiest day ever, or completely dead. So I won't hold it against Vinh Ky, and I will (attempt to) go back for the beef mango, deep-fried ice-cream, and more cup-slidey action another time.