The first restaurant is located off Exhibition Street, near Carlton Gardens. I must say I have a foggy memory of getting there, I simply followed my friend as I was way too busy trying to control my umbrella against the Melbourne wind. But braving the crazy weather proved to be worth it.
A hipster/Asian looking name board announced its presence. Miss Chu is a cosy restaurant that sells Vietnamese street food. While its size in square feet may have been small it is obviously a popular place as it was packed. I liked that it didn't look too restaurant like and that the interior of the shop had a certain ruggedness about it that seemed to complement the idea of street food perfectly.
The staff were friendly and I let my friend order food as she seemed somewhat of a Miss Chu expert. Miss Chu is apparently the queen of rice paper rolls or so the website claims. And rice paper rolls are what we ordered first. There are several choices and my friend ordered Tiger prawn and green mango rolls which arrived with the most amazing sauce. It was slightly spicy (my slightly spicy is probably not spicy to most people) and there was a delightful freshness in them. Also ordering the meal is pretty fun too since you tick your selection on the menu and hand it to the staff.
For our main meals, my friend ordered a beef broth with noodles and it tasted rather good, especially the broth which was nicely flavoured. I ordered a pork with rice paper 'pancakes'. When the dish arrived it was very colourful and looked like something they would cook on Masterchef (this is a good thing). And the taste too, I must say, didn't let me down. It had that fresh crunchiness of the vegetables, a shot of sour and dash of spiciness along with nicely cooked meat.
Fresh young frozen coconut seemed the crowd favourite. My friend however, decided to order a Vietnamese Iced Coffee, which can probably substitute for a dessert. It was a tad too sweet for my taste but I am sure it would appeal to those with unflinching sweet teeth.
The staff were friendly and very down to Earth and the prices were decent. We paid about twenty dollars each for the rice paper rolls, mains and drinks. So the next time you get a craving for rice paper rolls, this place is worth checking out.
The second restaurant is located quite close to the University of Melbourne, just off Berkeley Street. After five hours of class on Saturday (yes that's right) it was hardly surprising that we wound up here. Middle Fish is another hip looking restaurant that specialises in Thai Food. It's interesting because when I think Thai, I think dinner but this restaurant is open for breakfast and lunch only. By the time we went it was more lunch time but I think will definitely head over again to try a 'Thai' breakfast dish.
The interiors of this place are really nice. A refurbished old brick building, it is decorated with rustic metal ornaments, fresh flowers and other colourful things. It's just the sort of place you would want to go after a tiring day at university or work. Add some rather retro funky music into the mix and it definitely becomes a hipster eatery with of course delicious sounding Thai food.
My friend ordered a green curry chicken with rice and I ordered a satay chicken with rice. They were both really good. The Satay I must warn you is a tad sweet but I'm a huge fan of satay so I enjoyed it a lot. And whenever I felt it was too sweet I just grabbed a bite from my friend's green curry. So ordering a couple of dishes and sharing might be a good way to go as well.
The staff are really friendly and for the times you don't want to eat mains there are some interesting sounding cakes/muffins at the counter. Just on that note, the counter is really pretty, too. We tried a coconut and peanut muffin and it was a nice end to our 4pm 'lunch'.