When I first tasted Vietnamese cuisine 10 years ago, it was instantaneous love, and ever since I have been on the constant lookout for Vietnamese Restaurants.
Van Mai Vietnamese Restaurant in Victoria Street, Richmond is a gem. I dine there religiously, year in, year out. I take friends there, I take colleagues there, I take lovers there, basically I am an advocate for eating at Van Mai.
Humour aside, Van Mai is not the classiest Vietnamese Restaurant in Melbourne, nor does it have the best décor. But, Van Mai is reliable, reasonable, the food is fresh, the staff are friendly and the place has an ambience that is inviting.
If you are meeting a friend or are having a romantic dinner, I suggest you ring Van Mai in advance and ask for the window seat for two, overlooking Victoria Street. In summer, they open the French style windows and it feels like you're outside, I have spent many balmy Melbourne nights sitting at that table, enjoying Van Mai, it's delightful.
My favourite dish at Van Mai would have to be the lemongrass and chilli chicken. I am yet to find another restaurant that can do this dish the way Van Mai does it. A lot of restaurants tend to be heavy handed on either the lemongrass or the chilli factor, Van Mai nails it to perfection.