Thursday, July 22, 2010

Viet De Lites Southbank

I try to get together with my friends as often as possible, but even when we live in the same city, it's not always easy. Since leaving uni our schedules are so full as they have to contain mundane things like going to work, which manage to get in the way of actual living.

So, I was excited to get an email from my friend K, inviting me to a dinner that I could actually attend. She named the time, date and restaurant and for once, it was nice not to have to think about it. The only problem was, we were going to a Vietnamese restaurant and I had already been to Viet the night before. Oh well, I would just have to handle it!! I'm kidding- Viet is one of my favourite foods, I could eat it every night in a row for months without tiring. Viet de Lites, here we come.

We met at 7:30 on a Friday night, and as would be expected the restaurant was starting to get pretty busy. Viet de Lites is situated in Little Stanley Street, facing the parkland at Southbank. We were seated along the back wall of the restaurant, in the corner. By the time we arrived, the three of us are starving, but don't want to make the mistake of over ordering as we all wanted to wander down to Sardine Tin for dessert. Believe it or not, this is something I need to consciously think about, because really, it's in my genes to order too much food. I know, most normal people just order an appropriate amount, but not me. So in the name of being sensible, we decided to order two mains, plus an entree and rice. I know.. doesn't sounds like a lot given my growling stomach, but I needed to exercise restraint which is something I'm not very practised in. I even felt a bit panicky and had to chant the mantra 'you can always order more' in my head to calm myself down.

I requested something fried for the entree so we went with the faithful old spring rolls- 4 for $7.90. The spring rolls came out quickly and were hot and crunchy but generally the filling was pretty flavourless, tasting more of 'fried ness' than of mincey vegie goodness.

Next on the list was the Chilli and lemongrass stir fried chicken for $20.9. K had said her friends have raved about this dish so I was expecting big things. The chicken was nice and tender, and the quality of the meat was good, but the rest of the dish was disappointing. The chilli had a slight burn, and really, that was the only distinguishable taste. I love lemongrass so really would have liked for the dish to have taken on more flavour. On the plus side, the vegies were fresh, but the whole dish didn't really seem overly authentic to me, as I have had very similar dishes in other Asian restaurant (i.e Chinese).

The last dish to come was the grilled tender pork also $20.9. The presentation was cute, the pork was also a good quality pork loin, but unfortunately it was cooked dry. The sauce was sweet and not entirely unpleasant but again, didn't seem very authentic. The flavour was mainstream, something you could achieve by using bottled sauce from Woolies. However, the vegetables were nicely cooked and the bok choy was a good winter substitute for the usual summer salad base the dish is served on.

Overall, I was pretty disappointed with the dishes we were served at Viet de Lites. The flavours were bland and clichéd- nothing really popped out at me. On the positive side, service was polite and timely, and the meat is high quality. It's just a shame they didn't match the quality with flavour and authenticity.

So tell me readers, do you have trouble finding time to catch up with people who live in the same town?

Viet de Lites
Little Stanley Street
South Bank QLD
07 3844 8979
Viet de Lites on Urbanspoon

8 fabulous comments:

Steph@littlepotbelly said...

Somehow touristy destinations and bad food seem to go hand in hand. It's a shame 'cause Southbank has so much potential. Hope your dessert at Sardine Tin was more pleasing?

I always find it hard to catch up with friends, especially girl friends. It takes a LOT of effort and numerous text messages just to find a time to suit everyone, not to mention where to eat! I'm usually nominated to I know how you feel :)

The InTolerant Chef said...

Hmm... the plates don't look very generously sized either. What a let down. I love,love,love Vietnamese food too!

Amy @ cookbookmaniac said...

too bad the dishes weren't very good. its very disappointing. I love Vietnamese food too and its not just because I am part-vietnamese :)

Iain said...

Yes, the tourist curse.

Trouble catching up with people in the same town? Yes, life (work) just seems to get in the way.

mademoiselle délicieuse said...

I find it even more difficult now that I'm married. There's daily living (boring stuff) plus the needs of the person you're sharing your life with to consider as well. More living, less working please!

Ellie (Almost Bourdain) said...

I find it difficult after having kid. I love Vietnamese food but sorry to hear the place was up to your expectation.

Ally said...

Poop. I have been dying to go to Viet De Lights for ages...hopefully if I get around to it it'll be better than your experience.

Yeah man what's with this job thing. It cramps my style.

K said...

I'm so disappointed that you were disappointed!
Every time I've been to Viet De Lites, I've been over-the-moon impressed.
I'll try to remember the name of the magical soup I once had whilst there, the broth was an amazing amalgamation of sweet, sour and savoury... indescribable :)
May I suggest that you try Thai Terrace in Rosalie, too?
I had take-away birthday dinner from there and I'll certainly be going back for more.

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