A Sydney based writer, director, actor. Loves going out and exploring what Sydney has to offer.
Published August 12th 2012
Food Inspired by Family for Family
Often, when my boyfriend and I can't be bothered to make lunch, we step outside to snap up a Vietnamese pork roll and rice paper rolls from one of Enmore Road's Vietnamese establishments. Of course, when we heard that another eatery with such offerings was opening, we were keen to try.
Based on a concept of delivering fresh, authentic, quality Vietnamese street food, husband and wife team Michael and Mai offer the typical dishes with a slight twist. Michael explained to us that their signature dish, a caramelised pork roll ($6), is based on a recipe his grandmother would make for the family.
Michael's childhood memories include his grandmother serving caramelised pork belly with rice on the family dinner table. Great Aunty Three's revised version of this dish incorporates tender and juicy pork belly, slow cooked in coconut juice for up to 5 hours, in a crusty Vietnamese roll with fresh vegetables.
The roast pork roll ($6) is also a winner, complemented by a honey mustard sauce, crisp bits of crackling and copious amounts of carrot, cucumber and coriander.
Being the ambitious eaters that we are, we also tried all the rice paper rolls. Now a common dish in Sydney, rice paper rolls can be a hard art to master, however, we were delighted by the three flavours Great Aunty Three has to offer ($2.80 each or 3 for $6.80). We started with a delicious duck roll, then moved to a prawn roll that is paired well with a rich sweet chilli and peanut sauce and ended with a surprisingly tasty and hearty vegan roll. The latter has an amusing touch, containing tofu in the shape of prawns, and is delicious with a tofu and pineapple vegan sauce.
Coming soon to the menu are a chicken roll and a pho.
The name of the restaurant pays homage to Michael's grandmother, who was affectionately called 'Yi Ba', meaning 'Aunty Three' by family and friends. Michael's grandmother has worked for years in Vietnamese restaurants, successfully combining flavours of South-East Asia, Europe and traditional Vietnam and was one of the major cooking influences in Michael's life.
Michael, Mai and their staff are warm and welcoming, holding no hesitations to have a chat with their customers. I introduced myself as a local and we shook hands and exchanged names. The husband and wife team endearingly refer to each other as "my husband Michael" and "my wife Mai", adding to the family feeling of the restaurant.
The décor, predominantly a striking red, is simple while still pleasing to the eye. Patrons can sit at small tables and stools outside on the footpath and benches and a communal dining table will soon be installed inside the restaurant. Many people also pop by for a roll on the go.
Vietnamese tea is served in a bright red teapot and on warmer days a fruitshake ($10 combo with a roll) is ideal: a refreshing and light concoction of fruits and Mai's 'special sauce'. We tried a mixture of watermelon, lychee and strawberry and even my boyfriend, who has a strong dislike for lychee, couldn't help but slurp down the shake.