Soonta at Norwood is part of a chain of stores that specialises in serving up fusion Vietnamese cuisine. When you place your order, you can choose a Bahn Mi (Bread Roll), Bun Bowl, Salad Bowl or a Rice Bowl along with your choice of meat. This place proved to be very popular with the locals with a large crowd arriving close to the lunch hour.
Only available at specific stores, their Rice Bowl consists of your choice of meat, Asian greens, a hard-boiled egg and pickles served on top of rice. The Karaage Chicken I chose for my Rice Bowl had a nice crisp coating, which set off the succulent flesh nicely and had the degree of gingery taste I expect from a good Karaage Chicken. The Asian greens and pickles added an element of freshness and the traditional dressing I chose had a bit of a spicy flavour from the inclusion of chilli.
Karaage Rice Bowl (Photographed by Jonathan Phoon)
If you prefer something a bit more traditional, the Bun Bowl may be the dish for you. The rice vermicelli noodles were cooked to al dente and along with the Asian herbs, helped to give the dish a refreshing flavour. We chose to add all the condiments – chilli, spring onions, shallots, fried garlic and fried wonton skins, which gave the dish additional layers of texture and flavour.
Karaage Bun Bowl (Photographed by Jonathan Phoon)
For the Salad Bowls, you can pick from a cabbage salad, cos salad or mesclun salad (a salad of young salad greens), as the base of the dish. We went with cabbage salad and roast pork as the meat. The meat of the roast pork was contrasted nicely by the crispy coating and crunchy shreds of cabbage. The lemongrass and kaffir lime dressing we chose helped to lift the flavour of the ingredients with its tangy flavour.
Roast Pork Salad Bowl (Photographed by Jonathan Phoon)
This Norwood branch seems to be primarily catering for takeaways, but there are still a few tables available should you decide to eat there. The outlet's location within the Norwood Hoyts cinema lobby makes it a great place to enjoy a meal before or after a movie session.