Categories
Chinese Vietnamese

Lee Chef – Parramatta NSW Restaurant Review

Lee Chef is your friendly neighbourhood ethnically ambiguous Chinese/Vietnamese restaurant. Open until 10PM, they have, on multiple occasions, patiently remained open as we slurped up our post-shift pho and eaten our fill of authentic Asian classics.

The fried chicken wings were great. They were lightly battered and freshly fried, seasoned with 椒盐 (jiao yan), which is a traditional Chinese salt and chilli pepper seasoning. Each wing was crispy on the outside but moist on the inside – perfectly executed.

The vegetarian spring rolls were not great – in fact they teetered on the edge of actively bad. They were brought out very quickly and didn’t really feel like they had been heated all the way through. The filling inside the spring rolls were lukewarm at best, and displayed a mushy texture. We didn’t end up finishing these spring rolls – they were simply calories for punishment.

The Combination Beef Pho was wholesome and authentic. All elements were good. The protein component consisted of rare beef, beef balls, tendon, and beef rum. The soup was full of umami flavours and not too sweet or salty – just right. The side of Vietnamese mint and bean sprouts was not only adequate but generous. I am blessed to live near a restaurant that can deliver such consistently good pho.

I was less impressed by the Hainan Chicken Rice. I found the chicken too bland and tasteless and the rice a bit too hard, though I did appreciate the soup and the generous serving of chilli and ginger and shallot condiments. My partner was a much bigger fan of this dish than I was.

The combination bean curd hot pot was of quality and taste commensurate with its price. I do love myself a combination bean curd hot pot.

VERDICT
Quality neighbourhood eatery
Hits all the classics right in the bullseye
Wouldn’t travel for it, but will keep coming back again and again this year.
4/5

Lee Chef
1/140 Church St, Parramatta NSW 2150
(02) 8677 4425

Categories
Vietnamese

Khoi Eatery – Marrickville NSW Vietnamese Restaurant Review

Khoi Eatery has a strong social media game – so strong in fact, that I ate there after initially intending to have lunch at Khoi’s in Surry Hill – a completely different business.

Unfortunately the COMBINATION PHO PHỞ ĐẶC BIỆT (Regular – $14) was pretty standard. It was not bad, but there was nothing standout about it. The rare beef was not particularly rare, and the brisket, tripe, and tendon were all good but not amazing. The beef balls were probably the only part that was better than average, with a special texture to it. The soup was not a standout either.

Chopped fresh chilli was served inside this jar with no utensil, which given the current COVID-19 climate (this meal was eaten in late 2020) I was hesitant to touch. I would have felt much safer had this been served on a plate – who knows how many people have had their grubby hands in here?

The CHARGRILLED PORK SKEWERS (NEM NƯỚNG LỤI – $10) were not bad, but not what I expected. Not being Vietnamese I did not know that these would be minced meat, like kofta or seekh kebab. They had a sweet taste, similar to char siu.

The other half was busy studying for her ANZCA primary and unwilling to leave her cave. I brought home a serving of BBQ PORK CHOP BROKEN RICE (CƠM TẤM SƯỜN) ($13) as takeaway. This was actually quite a good dish – the BBQ pork was tasty and nicely marinated, and there was a good quantity of it. The sunny side up egg was cooked to a perfect degree of runniness. It also happened to be extremely cheap. I suspect that had I eaten this at the restaurant my overall impression of Khoi Eatery would be better.


OVERALL
My overall impression is that Khoi Eatery is fine, but not great. There’s nothing particularly wrong with their food, but also nothing particularly right. I ate at Khoi Eatery so that you don’t have to. See what else might be available up the road.

3.5 porks

Khoi Eatery
310 Illawarra Rd, Marrickville NSW 2204
+61 (02) 8385 0060

Khoi Eatery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Categories
Asian Fusion Vietnamese

Bang Tang – Potts Point NSW Restaurant Review

Bang Tang is a small South-East Asian fusion eatery in Potts Point, located unfortunately close to Ms G, a somewhat more famous and upscale competitor.

While it’s my understanding that there is usually lots of outdoor dining space, we ate lunch on a very rainy day in Potts Point, and internal seating was limited to only a few small tables. The small interior room really gave the place the vibe of a small diner. The service was good, and the food was served quickly. We finished our meal within 50 minutes, which was good as the nearby street parking is limited to 1 and 2 hour spots.

The cigar roll (2 for $6) is one of Bang Tang’s specialties. It is a thick, crispy chicken spring roll with a characteristic dry internal filling structure. It was quite large, fresh, a nd delicious, although I couldn’t help but feel that the skewer on which it was served was superfluous. It was much easier to eat with fingers, and chopsticks would have been fine as well.

The prawn and scallop dumpling (2 for $12) were a daily special, and quite delicious. We were disappointed when they were served, as they looked flat and unappealing, however this all changed when we tasted them. The filling had a great scallop taste, and the pastry wrapping was also delicious. Unfortunately we weren’t told the price of the dish, and in fact I did not realise they were $12 until writing this review and I took a look at the receipt. $6 for a single dumpling is far too much. But yum.

Bang Broth Noodle ($17)

The Bang Broth Noodle ($17) was basically a chicken pho but with rice noodle rolls instead of rice noodle strips. I liked it. I enjoyed the clear broth and the voluminous serving of fresh bean sprouts and herbs. My partner, who does not like chicken, did not like it as she thought that the roast chicken could’ve been any chicken that was roasted and split up. She is a chicken hater.

Duck It Up bowl ($24)

The Duck It Up bowl ($24) was a mixture of strongly marinated duck breast, rice, hoisin sauce and maple syrup, tofu, nuts, bean sprouts, herbs. My feelings about this dish were quite mixed. I thought that the fresh bites of vegetables, herbs, and bean sprouts were deliciously fresh, and that the nuts and other crunchy bits provided a great variation in texture. On the other hand, I thought that the duck and the rice and sauce components on the bottom of the bowl were too tasty and oversauced. It was basically two meals in one – one that I very much enjoyed the freshness of, and one that I thought was too bogged down in sauce. Even when mixing the bowl together I found that the entire bowl was too sauced. I particularly didn’t care for t he duck, which was too sauced, however my girlfriend enjoyed it.

Overall I quite enjoyed the food at Bang Tang. Everything ranged from good to great. I did think that the expensive prawn and scallop dumplings were a bit of a price shock, however their good taste almost made up for it. I would definitely recommend Bang Tang for a quick dinner, however I don’t know how the logistics would work for a long date or dinner with a group of friends as parking is quite limited.

4/5

Bang Tang
2/145 Victoria St, Potts Point NSW 2011
(02) 8542 0133

Bang Tang Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Categories
Bakery Vietnamese

Ho’s Bakery & Cafe – Sydenham NSW Banh Mi Review

Installing Doordash for the first time and taking advantage of their first month’s free delivery gave me the opportunity to try foods from a whole different catchment. Ho’s Bakery and Cafe in Sydenham, while not available to me on UberEats or Deliveroo, was ripe for the picking on Doordash.

I really enjoyed all the rolls that Hos’ had to offer.

The bacon and egg roll ($6.50) was excellent. The crispy, salty bacon and the mellow egg complemented each other perfectly, and the bread was soft, unintrusive, and not too much. One of the better bacon and egg rolls I’ve had. I’ve literally ordered the bacon and egg roll multiple, multiple times. It’s just that good.

I don’t normally go for chicken rolls ( $7) but for Ho’s I made an exception. I enjoyed the roast chicken, and the slightly peppery sauce that was provided. It did feel a bit more wholesome than the sliced cold pork roll that I usually get. Many stars.

pork roll

Ho’s pork roll ($6) was good and filling. In my honest opinion the quality rivals Hong Ha’s. I liked that the bread was soft and didn’t cut my mouth.

The fish burger ($6.50) let me down, however, which I guess is understandable as it is outside of their wheelhouse.

The pho ($14) is quite bad and I cannot recommend it.

What can I say? I really enjoyed the pork roll, chicken roll, and bacon and egg roll from Ho’s Bakery and Cafe. Their rolls are imbued with all round good quality and good taste. I would however stay away from the fish burger and far away from the pho.

5/5 with a caveat. Just stick with the basics.

Ho's Bakery And Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Categories
Asian Fusion Vietnamese

Kinhboy – Redfern NSW Restaurant Review

We’ve been on a bit of a Vietnamese food journey recently, and when Kinhboy popped up on my radar last week with good preliminary reviews online we knew we had to try. Unfortunately they did not quite live up to their hype.

Banh Xeo Taco with crackling pork belly

The banh xeo tacos with crackling pork belly (2 for $16) were pretty unextraordinary. While the filling of crackling pork, vietnamese slaw and sauce was tasty, juicy and fresh, the “banh xeo” exterior shell was a letdown. Taking our experience at Banh Xeo Bar as a baseline we would characterise this banh xeo taco shell as too hard (but not crispy) and a bit stale tasting.

Short Rib Pho

Kinhboy’s beef short rib pho ($18) was actually very good. The meat was very juicy and tender, cut into bit sized pieces and rearranged on the bone. The broth was rich and tasty. My one complaint would be that this dish was served with the bean sprouts within the soup, meaning that we did not have the opportunity to add our own at our own pace. This meant that they got quite soft and cooked by the end of our meal, while we like them a bit more crunchy and less cooked.

Crispy Chicken Supreme ($21), Jasmine Rice ($4)

I had very high expectations for the Crispy Chicken Supreme ($21), cooked in the French style in nuoc cham buerre blanc. Unfortunately my expectations were not met. The chicken itself was dry, and the skin hard but not crispy – a significant downgrade from the chicken I recently had at Khoi’s in Surry Hills. The sauce, while tangy and creamy, didn’t really go well with the chicken. Even when dipped the chicken had difficulty holding onto the sauce, and my partner felt like the flavours did not match well ( I don’t feel as strongly about this.) While the Jasmine Rice ($4) was a good suggestion from our waitress (like at Banh Xeo Bar, all of Kinhboy’s waitresses were White while all the Asians were kept in the kitchen) to soak up the sauce, it ultimately just didn’t cross the line into P+ territory for us.

Cherry Bomb

My partner wanted me to leave some good vibes about this Cherry Bomb ($18) cocktail.

VERDICT

While the beef short rib pho was a hit, our other two dishes were a disappointment – sad because I really wanted to like it. Despite a pretty average time at Kinhboy we did dine at sister restaurant Tokki a couple of days later – keep your eyes and noses peeled for that review soon.

3.5/5 racially segregated staff pools

Kinhboy
Shop E/66 Regent St, Redfern NSW 2016
(02) 8399 0535

Kinhboy Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato