They say it's the quiet ones you need to watch out for. In the case of Vung Tau Restaurant, this is far from true. When you walk in, you'll be greeted with a hearty hello, a wave of the hand to a table and a good dose of Vietnamese hospitality. It's this stand out service, coupled with fresh, tasty meals that sees me coming back week on week.
For a little while there I didn't stray too far past the Beef Pho. For less than $10, you'll be presented with tender pieces of beef, in a large steaming bowl of broth, rice noodles and all the condiments you can think of: bean sprouts, Vietnamese mint, wedges of lemon, fresh chilli and of course a lovely pot of tea to wash it down.
Sometimes I'd venture out and try the Beef and Brisket Pho, which for those who aren't scared of a bit of fat - is a real treat. Juicy pieces of brisket are interspersed with the beef to create a wholesome and very filling meal.
In recent times (and in an attempt to cut down my carbohydrate intake!) I've started to try more salads. Vung Tau's Beef Salad is a clear winner. I was thoroughly impressed with the simplicity of the flavours and beautiful array of fresh ingredients.
Strips of beef are tossed with sliced fresh chilli, Vietnamese mint, julienne carrot and cucumber, Spanish onion and crushed nuts. The nuts give great texture and punch to this sprightly salad and if you can't go past prawn crackers - then you'll be served a very generous portion! A dressing of vinegar is served and you can add as little or as much as you choose.
Even though Victoria Street is laden with Vietnamese restaurants, this one is a hidden jewel. The menu is extensive and there are daily specials and lots of Vietnamese specialities for you to try. I'd recommend taking a friend if you want to sample a few.
Insider tip: Head down for lunch, you'll be guaranteed a table and a chance to watch the hustle and bustle of Victoria Street.