I love Vietnamese food. It's so simple, fresh and beautiful. Perfect for Australian Summer climate. Right now, I'm also rather interested in reading Luke Nguyen's new book- Songs of Sapa but it has been placed on the increasingly expensive and long list of wanted cookbooks (another blog on that later!)
Vietnam has such an interesting and varied history and French colonisation obviously had a huge effect on the food! I was very excited to hear that a new Vietnamese BYO restaurant had opened in the Rosalie Village. Rosalie/ Paddington area has been lacking a good Viet restaurant and I was hopeful that Mint could fill that void. Of course, there is Libertine at the Caxton Barracks but I mean a more casual place.
The restaurant is very simple and casual but modern. Light green is the theme. The menu is extensive and has Viet specialty sections as well as many items that aren't specifically Vietnamese. This is very common in Asian restaurants in QLD. I've never really seen this so often and I'm not sure it's such a good thing. I would like to go to a Vietnamese restaurant and see only Vietnamese dishes because every time I get a menu with other options, I get distracted. This is the same with Thai, Chinese etc etc....
I was also ordering take-away, but the staff were all really polite whilst I was there. I also noticed that some of the staff and some other Vietnamese people were all dining at the back of the restaurant together. I got in pretty early- 5:30ish and so they were obviously having their meal together before the evenings service. I love seeing the family that own the restaurant happily eating away- It shows such a sense of family and community and eating togeh.
That being said- I was really rushed and the menu was huge so I just picked the first things that popped out at me.
1) Pan friend pork dumpling (6 for $6.50) A very reasonable price but.... hmm... Not sure what I was thinking ordering these away from a Yum Cha Restaurant. I guess I got panicked and just went for something familiar. While these weren't altogether bad, the casing was a little undercooked so a bit chewy but the filling was nice and gingery.
Salt and Spicy quail 2 @ $5.50. The salt and spicy quail was very crispy however not too salty or spicy. The quail meat was quite tender and but a kick of chilli and salt would have done wonders.
From the Viet specialties section I ordered salt and spicy calamari for $15.90 and was once again underwhelmed by the lack of spice and salt. The calamari was heavily battered but the inside was tender and very easy to chew. Seeing I ordered two 'salt and spicy' dishes I must have really been lacking in salt!!
Last but not least I went for the wrap your own rice paper rolls with grilled marinated chicken for $13.90. This was by far the best dish. The chicken was beautifully marinated, delivering a nice lemongrass zing. The accompanying salad was fresh and plentiful and there was more than enough filling to do at least 10 rice paper rolls. I made these for C and I for lunch the next day!
I was not totally thrilled by my visit to Mints but have to confess that there were elements of promise and the rice paper rolls are enough to convince me to go back. I have spotted some dishes from the Viet Specialties section that I might try next time including the Viet Special King Prawn Clay Pot and the Viet Steam fish fillets with ginger and shallots both priced at a very reasonable $16.90.
The food was very cheap $32.00, including 10% off opening special which was enough for dinner for 2 and lunch the next day. All the items were all really fresh so I'm hoping the couple of problems were opening week jitters because there was definite elements of great fresh Vietnamese food. I don't know of any good Vietnamese restaurants over this side of town so I'm always happy to see new, good restaurants opening up!
Shop 4/21 Nash St
Shop 4/21 Nash St