Vietnamese Tapas (otherwise known as 'vapas') is Vietnamese food paradise right here on earth. Even if you're someone who is not quite sure about Vietnamese food, you will be pleasantly surprised. The newly launched vapas and wine menu at Bay Tinh Vietnamese Restaurant at Crows Nest has made way for Sydney to enjoy an affordable, quality and rather healthy indulgence. At long last.
Beautiful ambience in which to enjoy Vietnamese Tapas (vapas) at Bay Tinh Vietnamese Restaurant
All of the wines which accompany the new Vietnamese Tapas (vapas) menu at Bay Tinh Vietnamese Restaurant come from the Robert Oatley Signature Series range. This means quality, and having been around for six years that speaks volumes for itself. I was fortunate to have tried the new vapas menu with these stunning wines recently, and with a group of selected Sydney based food writers.
A Little Rice Cake - the starter to Bay Tinh's vapas menu
The Little Rice Cakes with a glass of Margaret River Sauvignon Blanc 2012 ensured that the start of this experience was pleasant to the senses. This dish looked more like a little quiche where the outer coating was somewhat crispy, while the inner coating was soft. Not grainy at all. No strong rice aromas, however a beautiful coconut flavour blended in with this surprisingly good drop of white. The perfect starter, and from that point we all settled down real quick.
The next starter comprised of the Tamarind Soft Shell Crab with a glass of Great Southern Riesling 2012. The crab was spicy yet easy to chew without the crunchy palette. The owner of Bay Tinh Vietnamese Restaurant in Crows Nest, Harry Hoang ensures that the batter on this dish is light and crispy. I agree, the batter was all of this as well as tender and soft with that subtle silky aftertaste in my mouth bursting with chilli flavour. Apparently, the tamarind is a common fruit in Vietnam. Surprisingly, the Riesling blends in nicely with this dish. The chilli taste is amplified if you happen to take a few sips of the Riesling after.
The Salt and Pepper Calamari also blended in nicely with a small drop of the Margaret River Chardonnay 2012. There is no greasy batter. Come to expect a soft and herby batter with a smooth texture in your mouth. The fish was filling and tasted rather awesome. Definitely well cooked. The flavour of the Chardonnay really hit home.
Heading more into the mains of the vapas, the Pork Skewers brought out quality drops of red wine to the table. The first glass of red tasted was the Mornington Peninsula Pinot Noir 2011. Pinot Noir was a perfect wine selection for this dish. The Shiraz or the Cab Sav would have been way too heavy for a lighter start to the main events coming up. The salad (thanks to the hoisin sauce) was full of flavour and the pork was cooked just right.
A spicier, more peppery blend such as the McLaren Vale Shiraz 2010 was a match made in heaven for the Tender Cubed Beef. This is where a quality drop of shiraz is yin and yang to the heartier, meatier dishes. The beef chunks were cut to the right size and were tender. It was a great, especially with a simple drop of Shiraz. The beef was flavoursome enough with subtle spices and a few vegetables. Harry had become quite generous with the beef here, it was sensational.
Thanks to the recent launch of Bay Tinh's vapas menu, Duck Curry has made it on this restaurants menu for the first time ever. Upon taking the first bite, it is easy to observe that the duck was marinated, and was also quite tender. The Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 was the perfect wine to accompany the duck. Some rice was also provided as part of this dish. The rich berry flavour of the wine brought a fruity taste to the second last dish of the evening.
Of course, the best is saved till last. That's right the dessert. The Lychee and Mandarin Mousse with a small glass of Craigmoor Botrytis 2009 made way for a really sweet sensation. I was expecting the dessert to be quite sweet, yet the taste was just fine. Apparently this dish is also quite popular in Vietnam. Lychee and mandarin juice is included in this dish. A generous serving of some smooth, velvety mousse with a lychee and a mandarin piece was just different, unique and ever so stunning.
For the record, although seven different quality drops of alcohol are enjoyed as part of this menu, all in all, a total of three full glasses of wine were enjoyed. This together with a Vietnamese feast bursting with flavour and fragrant spices, created an amazing culinary experience.
Thank you once again Harry and to your wonderful team of staff at Bay Tinh Vietnamese Restaurant at Crows Nest for a fantastic experience I will never forget.
Excellent vapas dishes by Bay Tinh Vietnamese Restaurant