Yen's Vietnamese

Review: Yens Vietnamese (Waterloo)

This small Vietnamese eatery is located away from all the cool areas in the city but it’s worth making a detour (which can be justified by having gelato at Ciccone and Sons for dessert).

Every time we’ve come on Monday night for a pre-meditation bowl of soup it’s been packed, which is always a good sign. The food is BBB (bueno, bonito y barato), generous in size, and consistently good. The tables are always stocked with the mandatory sauces, fresh chilli, tissues and a flask of hot tea that gets promptly replaced when needed.

Sauces, tea

Noodle soups are a must-have here, the broths are flavoursome and don’t rely on heaps of sugar and MSG. The menu has tons of options to customise your soup, for example, my go-to is chicken broth with seafood and carb-free (yes, that’s exactly how it’s phrased in the menu – it comes with vegetables and no noodles). The base broth can be beef, chicken or vegetable – both the beef and chicken are excellent (haven’t tried the vegetable one). There are several protein and extras options so you won’t get bored ordering the same soup every time.

Beef & chicken pho

Beef & chicken pho ($15 + $3 for extra beef)

Pho with crispy skin chicken

Beef pho with crispy skin chicken ($14)

This time I had the cabbage salad with chicken and prawns which was, as you can see in the photo, a massive serve, and very tasty.

Cabbage salad with chicken & prawns

Cabbage salad with chicken and prawns ($15)

The stir-fried noodles are also highly customisable, with different noodle, sauce and protein options and a good amount of veggies.

Stir-fried noodles with chicken & vegetables

Stir-fried nooodles with chicken & vegetables ($13)

The Bottom Line
Drinks: 4.5/5, free hot tea.
Food: 4.5/5, fresh, tasty and lots of options.
Service: 4.5/5, warm, efficient and friendly.

Yens Vietnamese
29 Botany Rd
Waterloo NSW 2017
(02) 8399 0598

Yen's Vietnamese Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Black Ginger

Review: Black Ginger (Enmore)

Going to the chiro is a good excuse to eat on Enmore road. Not that is too far away, but it’s nice to have a legitimate excuse. That, and catch up with a friend who lives in the neighbourhood. My eyes were initially set on The Stinking Bishops but it was booked out. We walked to the next block with no Plan B in mind, and stumbled across Black Ginger. Vietnamese is always a good option for us, and this was a new restaurant for all of us.

The menu has photos, and both my friend and I decided quickly the Vietnamese Crispy Pancake Banh Xeo filled with mung bean, onions, bean sprouts and choice of protein (prawns, duck or tofu) was the way to go. We both chose duck and yes, I shared with Alvaro. The pancake is one of the many items in the menu labelled as gluten-free. It was my first time trying it and I loved it. The taste was great and the top half of the pancake was thin and crunchy. The bottom half became a bit soggy once enough nuoc cham had been applied to the filling, but it didn’t matter. There was a good variety of leaves on the plate – this was not a boring meal at all.

Vietnamese pancake with duck

Vietnamese crispy pancake with duck ($14.90)

The other dish I shared with Alvaro was the North Vietnamese Chicken Salad with shredded chicken, lime juice house sauce, red cabbage, onion, mint, coriander and peanuts. Generous serving, super fresh and very tasty. Couldn’t complain and would order again.

Chicken salad

North Vietnamese Chicken Salad ($14.90)

Only one PS: the prices in the menu are not updated. Expect to pay a dollar more here and there.

Black Ginger Restaurant
89 Enmore Rd
Newtown NSW 2042
(02) 8386 5254
On Facebook

Black Ginger Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Cafe Paris on King

Review: Cafe Paris on King (Newtown)

One thing that I like about moving house is exploring the eating landscape. Even though we’re back to the area we lived up to 5 years ago, things change all the time. The bakery on the South end of King Street is now a Vietnamese cafe. If you’ve seen my Instagram feed, you know I love Vietnamese food, so this was a must-try in my list.

Cafe Paris On King

They do the typical pork and chicken rolls and fresh juices, but we were more interested in soup and rice paper rolls.

Vietnamese roll station

The prawn rice paper rolls were made on the spot. They had a good ratio of fresh veggies and vermicelli. Not as good as the low-carb soldiers from Roll’d but better than others full of vermicelli.

Prawn rice paper rolls

Prawn rice paper rolls ($5.50)

Although the chicken Pho didn’t have an intense and rich flavour, I really liked it. It was light and tasted fresh, without crazy flavour enhancers.

Chicken Pho

Chicken Pho ($12)

I wish they were open for dinner.

Cafe Paris on King
615 King Street
Newtown NSW 2042

Cafe Paris on King Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Review: Nguyen Brothers (Alexandria)

A few weeks ago I was walking home from the gym and discovered this new Vietnamese restaurant. It’s not a secret that Vietnamese is my favourite Asian cuisine, so I organised a visit asap.

Nguyen Brothers

This venue belongs to the owners of Yen for Viet, which seems to be one of the good Vietnamese restaurants in Marrickville.

Nguyen Brothers

I had a sugar cane prawn rice paper roll and a vegies [sic] rice paper roll. The sugar cane prawn was not what I was expecting (it was more similar to kamaboko than to other sugar cane prawns I’ve had in the past). The rolls were standard, with a ton of vermicelli. I think the low carb soldiers at Roll’d have spoilt me.

Sugar cane prawn rice paper rolls

Sugar cane prawn rice paper roll

Sugar cane prawn rice paper rolls ($7.5 for 2)

Vegies rice paper rolls

Vegies rice paper rolls ($5.5 for 2)

The pork & prawn rice paper rolls ordered by someone else looked more attractive.

Pork & prawn rice paper rolls

Pork & prawn rice paper rolls ($6 for 2)

I also shared the pork, prawn, papaya & herbs salad. Nice salad, fresh and light, perhaps a bit expensive for what it was.

Pork, prawn, papaya & herbs salad

Pork, prawn, papaya & herbs salad ($18)

The most enjoyed dish of the day was the classic rice with crispy skin chicken, which looked amazing.

Rice with crispy skin chicken

Rice with crispy skin chicken ($13)

The rice roll (filled with stir-fried pork, mince, onion and wood-ear mushroom, served with pork loaf, cookead bean sprout, basil, fried onion and fish sauce), looked pretty good, too.

Rice roll

Rice roll ($12)

The biggest disappointment of the night was for the man who ordered rice vermicelli with grilled sliced pork, but I think it was just the wrong dish for that particular person, who dislikes fatty meat (??!!). I tried some of the vermicelli, and can say they were pretty tasty.

Rice vermicelli with grilled sliced pork

Rice vermicelli with grilled sliced pork ($13)

My overall impression was that food is generally good, with some exceptions (e.g. avoid rice paper rolls if you don’t like them filled with a ton of vermicelli). Can’t wait to try more dishes!

Nguyen Brothers
21 Fountain Street
Alexandria NSW 2015
(02) 8964 1558
On Facebook

Nguyen Brothers Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Bun Me

Review: Bun Me (Sydney CBD)

My friend Sebastian, who by now you know is very fond of Vietnamese cuisine, found a new (to us) place to try at the MLC Centre. Bun Me‘s menu looked suspiciously similar to Roll’d‘s (are double apostrophes allowed in English?), including the option to add extra meat to anything for $2.



We both chose salads as per usual, a prawn & pork papaya salad with extra meat for me, and a BBQ pork salad plus an egg omelette rice paper roll for him. From the photo below you can see the difference in size of the two salads.

BBQ pork salad, prawn & pork papaya salad

Sebastian said his salad was very light on the meat; I was glad I ordered extra. Vegetables were fresh and crunchy, and I did get a ton of papaya, but the dressing lacked flavour. I rarely dump my whole container of dressing on my salad but this time I had to.

BBQ pork salad

BBQ pork salad ($9.6)

Prawn & pork papaya salad

Prawn & pork papaya salad ($10.6) + extra meat ($2)

The rice paper roll, according to Sebastian, was quite ordinary. Nothing like the low carb, veggie-filled soldiers at Roll’d IMO.

Egg omelette rice paper roll

Egg omelette rice paper roll ($3)

Little Vietnamese Food and Roll’d continue to be Sebastian’s top choices in the area. Mine too, with the addition of Bar Pho.

Bun Me
MLC Centre
Shop 6.25, 19-29 Martin Place
Sydney NSW 2000
(02) 8540 8595
On Facebook

Bun Me Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Review: Roll’d (Sydney CBD)

My friend Sebastian and I had spied Roll’d as a possible lunch destination. I knew thought this was a franchise (it’s not) and, to be honest, it looked very fast food-y. Expectations were not the highest, but we decided to give it a shot anyway.


We ordered goi (Vietnamese salad) with prawn & pork for me and chicken for Sebastian. The salads come with prawn crackers in a separate bag. There’s an option to add extra meat for $2 but the regular amount was fine for us. You are also given the option for some extra fresh chilli at no extra charge. Salads were great, fresh, tasty and reasonably filling.

Pork & prawn salad

Pork & prawn salad ($9.50)

Chicken salad

Chicken salad ($9.50)

We also ordered a couple of low carb soldiers (rice paper rolls). Yes, low carb. These come with fresh vegetables instead of vermicelli and were great. Each comes with your choice of sauce in a small container, and there’s always the option to buy extra.

Rice paper rolls

Fish, chicken rolls

Fish, chicken low carb soldiers ($3.90 each)

I have also tried the salad with lemongrass beef, but my favourite so far is pork and prawn. Given the recent heat wave in Sydney I haven’t been keen on trying the pho, which you can order low carb (with less or no noodles), just yet.

Roll’d O’Connell St
Shop 3 & 4, Swire House
10 Spring St
Sydney NSW 2000
(Enter store off O’Connell St)
(02) 9233 6728

Roll'd Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Review: Bar Pho (Wintergarden, Sydney CBD)

Bar Pho, who make one of my favourite Pho in Sydney have stepped up from markets and pop-ups to a permanent location at The Wintergarden, a posh food court conveniently located close to my office.

A proper shop means a bigger menu. Apart from their awesome beef pho, there are a couple more soup options, as well as salads, rolls and rice paper rolls. All of their food is MSG-free and most is gluten-free as well. The first time I had a big bowl of Master Pho with a rich, flavoursome broth cooked for 18 hours, plus lots of fatty tender grass-fed beef and the usual suspects. I ordered mine without noodles and extra marrow and left completely satisfied.

Master pho with marrow

Master pho ($12.50 large) with marrow ($2)

The next time I visited I tried the chicken & mint salad (poached chicken breast, mint, cabbage, carrot, crushed peanuts, fried shallots and classic nuoc nam dressing). I liked the flavour, the generous serving and the higher than usual protein:vegetable ratio.

Chicken & mint salad

Chicken & mint salad ($12.50)

Sebastian, however, was not impressed by his lemongrass beef & papaya salad (warm lemongrass grass-fed beef, papaya, mint, crushed peanuts, jasmine rice and spicy sweet chill and soy dressing). He remains loyal to Little Vietnamese Food.

Lemongrass beef & papaya salad

Lemongrass beef & papaya salad ($13)

Looking forward to trying more items off the menu.

Bar Pho

The Wintergarden
1 O’Connell Street
Sydney NSW 2000
(02) 9241 4597
On Facebook

Bar Pho Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Review: The Naughty Chef (Sydney CBD)

In the beginning I classified The Naughty Chef in the dodgy cheap eatery category. When reputable food bloggers (hi Simon and John) started posting photos of comforting-looking bowls of Pho, I moved it to the “maybe” category. It was only when I saw a coworker ordering a chicken vegetable soup with no noodles that I decided to give it a shot.

The setup of the restaurant is, in part, what makes it dodgy. You order in one shop, your bowl is served in just a few minutes, you get your cutlery and condiments, and then walk with your tray (spilling broth all over it) two shops down, to the dining room.

Order here



Eat here

I ordered the aforementioned chicken vegetable soup with no noodles and must say it was very good. Tons of vegetables, decent amount of chicken, flavourful broth.

Chicken vegetable soup, no noodles

Chicken vegetable soup ($11)

Sebastian ordered the special chicken soup, which was similar to mine, except that it came with a couple of dumplings in addition to the noodles and vegetables (and a couple of bean sprouts, which were not enough for Sebastian).

Special chicken soup

Special chicken soup ($12)

The Naughty Chef
Shop H4, Hunter Arcade, Wynyard Station
Sydney NSW 2000
(02) 9262 3373

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Review: Dear Cafe (Newtown)

One day walking back from uni I noticed this new Vietnamese eatery on the far North end of King Street (right before it turns into City Road). I looked at the menu and one of the friendly staff approached me and handed me a menu.

Dear Cafe

Dear Cafe

I made sure we tried it a few weeks later, on a night I was craving soup. I ordered a bowl of beef pho with half serve of noodles, and Alvaro his favourite crispy skin chicken. I was also craving vegetables (and no, the bean sprouts and mint that come with pho don’t count as vegetables in my book), so I asked if I could have some steamed vegetables as a side. They were not listed as an option in the menu but the staff were nice enough to make it according to my specifications (whatever vegetables you have in hand, steamed, no sauce).

Beef pho

Beef noodle soup (pho) ($9.50)

Pho garnish

Pho garnish

Steamed vegetables

Steamed vegetables

The pho tasted great and was very generous in size. It did have MSG, though, judging from the hangover I had not long after eating. Alvaro enjoyed his chicken and he reckoned the sauce made it a tad better than his previous favourite (Happy Chef’s).

Crispy skin chicken

Crispy skin chicken ($10.50)

Alvaro also had a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice, which was served in a nice glass for the photo.

Freshly squeezed OJ

Freshly squeezed OJ ($4.50)

Dear Cafe
28 King Street
Newtown NSW 2042
(02) 9517 3388

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Review: Viet Town (Haymarket)

My friend and ex-colleague from back home Moisés was in Sydney for a few weeks. Bad weather and little time meant we failed as tourist guides but at least got to show him a bit of Darling Harbour and Haymarket in search for dinner. He likes Thai food but he had also mentioned interest in trying Vietnamese cuisine. On our way to Home I saw a Viet Town which was almost packed with Asian patrons, always a good sign IMO.

Moisés is not fussy when it comes to food so it was easy to pick a few options marked as GF in the menu to share. First a classic vermicelli with marinated pork chop served with salad, fresh herbs, peanuts, garlic and chilli fish sauce. Nice flavour, fresh ingredients and good-sized serving.

Vermicelli with marinated pork chop

Vermicelli with marinated pork chop ($12.80)

Next came the braised beef spare ribs in young coconut juice, green peppercorn and pate, ordered with steamed rice. I enjoyed the fattiness and tenderness of the ribs (my favourite cut). The sauce was pretty tasty, too.

Braised beef spare ribs in young coconut juice, green peppercorn and pate

Braised beef spare ribs in young coconut juice, green peppercorn and pate ($16.80)

The only dish that disappointed us and was left unfinished was the grilled squid salad in garlic, chilli and lime relish. The squid slices (which, by the way, were cut to uneven thickness) were bitter, hopefully from excessive charring and not lack of freshness.

Grilled squid salad in garlic, chilli and lime relish

Grilled squid salad in garlic, chilli and lime relish ($16.80)

Viet Town
Shop G04, 345B-353 Sussex Street
Sydney NSW 2000
(02) 9262 7982

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