I would like to introduce you to something awesome, beautiful and rather special. If you have ever come across Vietnamese food in Sydney's Marrickville, no doubt you might have heard about the Bay Tinh Vietnamese Restaurant.
I was fortunate to be invited to experience fine, fragrant and quality Vietnamese cuisine at Bay Tinh's new Crows Nest location. The restaurant opened its doors around five months ago, and it was just lovely to have had an opportunity to meet and enjoy conversations with the owner, Harry Hoang.
Harry and his team of staff are just beautiful and polite - Vietnamese people generally are. I really felt welcome and at home with friendly and passionate staff. There's a beautiful ambience that include tasteful artworks, and a quality Buddha statue. My friend and I relished our three-course feast in style.
This winter tasting menu offers a great opportunity to try a variety of different fragrances and Vietnamese spices. A choice is also provided between the cocktails and the French wine. Prawns, duck and roast spatchcock - take your pick. As a bonus a choice of any dessert dish is also included in the banquet. It's just $37 per person; a cheap and enjoyable feed.
There are a range of beautiful cocktails on offer. The individual best known as "Sydney's Queen of Cocktails", Alexx Swanston, now lovingly consults to, and designs the cocktail offering for Bay Tinh. Additionally Alexx used to engage in similar work for Merivale's The Ivy on George Street.
The pathway to the outside dining area at Bay Tinh
I opted for The Tinh Tinh (do not be mistaken by the music group The Ting Tings) and it felt like I was on a holiday with beautiful petals and lychee pieces. If you are a lychee and cocktail lover thrown into one, then this is your drink with some delicious home made iced tea included into the mix.
Harry mentioned that this drink is apparently a favourite among his female customers, while his signature drink "Harry's Drink" with lime and white wine with Vietnamese herbs is popular among the men who dine in at the Bay Tinh Vietnamese Restaurant at Crows Nest. The Pink Drink makes way for a non-alcoholic alternative.
The food was cooked with love, and without any grease or chemicals. No wonder why there was this beautifully light and fluffy feeling. I am normally not a soup person, however I decided to opt in on the Sweet and Sour Prawn Soup ($7.90) where the soup comprised of this yummy lemony taste with chunky, well cooked prawns. Quality vegetables included tamarind and pineapple. A great entree. My friend opted for one of Harry's signature dishes, the Duck Salad - Goi Vit ($11.00) comprising of two pieces cooked with aromatic spices dressed with lime juice and kaffir limes to name, and this dish was also accompanied with crunchy prawn crackers. I tasted a small piece of duck; it was just tender and well cooked. This duck was cooked with a lot of TLC.
The dining room area for functions and corporate Christmas parties
The mains came out quite quickly as well, yet the timing came down to a fine art while I was enjoying my friends company. I went for the Caramelized Fish - Ca Kho To ($22) another one of Harry's signature dishes passed down from generations in his family. Tasting a dish such as this, I am so pleased that Harry decided to say goodbye to his corporate job as an IT Consultant, and also from lecturing at UTS to pursue his passion for food. Amazingly enough, the beautiful thing is that he did not have to go on MasterChef to pursue his passion for food either.
What to expect: a quality salmon steak slow-cooked in a clay pot filled with a rich tasting caramelized sauce; definitely a beautiful dish encompassing traditional Vietnamese flavours with enthusiasm. The fish was just tender. My only issue was that the fish had a few too many bones; you know those thin white ones.
My friend went for the Salt & Pepper Calamari - Muc Muoi ($18.50) and this dish is also available as a gluten free alternative upon request. The dipping sauce is quite interesting and different, and the batter was rather light and fluffy, and it definitely did not feel overpowering. Beautiful chunks of fish that was clearly well cooked. I was addicted, and so was my friend. I need to point out, that even though we chose a dish each, we both ended up sharing the main course, and we also did the same when it came to dessert time.
Beautiful fish - one of Harry Hoang's signature dishes
Sweets time came by so quickly, yet we were still quite full. We left it to our friendly hosts to pick a 'sweet' dish for us, and we ended up sharing a chocolate glazed poached pear. Definitely refreshing, and a fitting dish to finish up our Bay Tinh dining in experience.
It is interesting to note that Harry Hoang lives and breathes food. As soon as he shuts shop for the night; apart from spending some quality time with his family, he loves researching. He researches the best and healthiest ingredients, spices and food fragrances he can add to his menu. He reads, creates and experiments with his recipes, with love, passion and joy.
The focus on his restaurant's food is love, fragrance and texture - smooth textures. I am also rapt (and rather excited) to have been invited to a wine tasting night at his restaurant, The Bay Tinh Vietnamese Restaurant real soon. I am looking forward to coming back.
If you love quality food, and Vietnamese food then you must pay a visit to the Bay Tinh Vietnamese Restaurant at 16 Falcon Street in Crows Nest, and who knows you might get a chance to meet owner Harry Hoang yourself.
Poached pears soaked in chocolate sauce...a fitting finale to a great dining experience. Thank you so much.
Thanks to your review, I went there last night with a group of friends - 5 of us all up. We chose the $39 tasting menu as we were all too busy talking to think and study the menu.
It was all very nice. We started with the Sweet and Sour Soup which, as you say, was 'yummy'. Then had a number of other lovely dishes, 5 in all. I thought the portions were small, but once you worked your way through everything, it was definitely enough -- leaving room for dessert that we did NOT plan. That was until Harry explained each of them and somehow managed to sell us 3 gorgeous desserts.
We had a great evening, loved the food, and enjoyed Harry's conversation. Of particular interest was his explanation of the different influences on the food - French in the North, Spicy in the cooler Mountains, and more subtle in the South.