Categories
Chinese Vietnamese

Pho Pasteur – Parramatta NSW Restaurant Review

Across the road from Parramatta’s Lee Chef is Pho Pasteur, a long-lived, almost 30-year old Vietnamese restaurant that’s since extended tendrils across Sydney.

We had the Large Special Beef Pho with extra meat ($20). The flavour of this pho was good, with a lighter tasting but still umami-packed soup, a mix of rare beef, beef tendon, beef rumen, and beef balls, and a garnish of freshly chopped shallot. Like the rest of the bowl, the serving of bean sprouts, mint, and chillis was fresh and adequate. Though the flavour was good, we thought that the balance of meats did skew heavily towards the rare beef side, with our large bowl only featuring one solitary beef ball cut in half, even though we had optioned it out with extra meat. The bowl, overall, is almost matched punch-for-punch with its cross-street neighbour, but I think that given the filling imbalance I’d lean slightly towards Lee Chef’s.

Though a big fan of quail egg in meals like malatang, I’d never actually eaten quail the bird until this visit to Pho Pasteur. I had seen my parents order it occasionally at Chinese restaurants as a child, however I was always too spooked by the small size of the bird to eat them. To be honest, after trying the quail at Pho Pasteur I don’t think I really missed out on much. The two whole quails ($18) were deep fried, and quite salty, served with a zesty dipping sauce. Though the quail pieces might have looked juicy from certain angles, a quick flip around revealed that the opposite service was positively concave – these were lean birds indeed. It took quite a bit of t to harvest the meat from these quail, which didn’t really taste that different to duck or chicken. I don’t think I’d order this again – I’d go straight for the crispy skin chicken which is also on offer at Pho Pasteur – but this may very well be a comment on my personal preferences rather than the restaurant’s ability.

I was not a big fan of this eggplant and pork mince hot pot ($17). Though the taste and size of this hot pot was good, it was just filled to the brim with oil, making it very difficult for me to eat without hating myself. Rice is a necessary evil whilst eating this dish, but perhaps a course of orlistat or plasmapheresis would be better accompaniments.

VERDICT
Pho Pasteur’s offerings have a great deal of crossover with nearby Lee Chef’s. One of Pho Pasteur’s strengths is its actual printed menu, which features photos of many of their dishes, hence not leaving things up to the imagination as Lee Chef does. I think that ultimately both restaurants provide good quality Vietnamese and Chinese food, and the restaurant of choice will be up to whichever one is open at the time (Lee Chef is closed on Sunday nights, but open later on other days).

Pho Pasteur Parramatta
137 Church St, Parramatta NSW 2150
(02) 9635 0782

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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
262 Unwins Bridge Rd, Sydenham NSW 2044
(02) 9517 2773