UE Noodle Restaurant, Cabramatta 

I love adventuring around Sydney for good food. A few friends and I wanted to check out the fabric shops in Cabramatta to help inspire some ongoing craft projects so we decided to kill two birds with one stone and grab a delicious Vietnamese lunch too. 

Based off the recommendation of a friend, we ended up at UE Noodle Restaurant. Just off of John street, it’s known for its tasty duck noodle soup….and tasty it was! 


With a menu consisting of only five items – pork mince noodle soup, pork slice noodle soup, duck leg noodle soup, chicken breast noodle soup and beef brisket noodle soup…. You are pretty much guaranteed to be eating noodle soup but with all your protein bases covered, you really can’t go wrong. Plus if you knew the place, you seemed to be able to request different types of noodles and free extra broth. 


The cherry on the cake – or in this case the fried shallot on my soup – was that upon ordering, we were served unlimited pots of green tea to drink and two plates fresh greens and bean sprouts to sprinkle liberally into our soups of choice. Boy do I love it when a meal comes with free stuff.

 
And what did we choose? I hear you ask. Well, given its reputation, it was a no brainer to order the duck leg soup. Light and fragrant, the duck was succulent and the hand made noodles full of flavor and a very pleasing texture. We also got a serve of the brisket for comparison and it was just as fabulous if different. The beef broth was more full bodied and packed a curried punch while the beef itself was melt in your mouth with a great meat to fat ratio. Served with the same hand made noodles it was super comforting as well as filling


And talk about value for money! With both dishes costing $15 or less, our stomaches were pleasantly full but our wallets were still full too – always a happy feeling. 

Yes it was a 45 minute drive but it was totally worth it! For an awesome meal and a fun day out, I’d go back to Cabramatta! 

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Xage Vietnamese Restaurant, Surry Hills

There’s nothing better than a girly catch up over a healthy meal, and Xage on Crown street provides the perfect setting. When a girlfriend suggested Xage for a mid-week dinner, I was excited. I’d heard such good things about this Vietnamese restaurant, and I wasn’t disappointed.

Sister restaurants with Madam Nhu, located just down the hill on Campbell street, are both very popular, and bookings are recommended. Packed to the brim and buzzing on a random Tuesday night, we joined our fellow diners for a 7.30pm dinner.

a healthy and delicious feast

If you want privacy and a quiet conversation, this place is not for you. With seating arranged sardine style along long wooden benches and members of the same party situated across from one another; it is as easy to participate in someone else’s conversation as your own.

Don’t bring your grandmother here. She won’t like the stool seating or the mood lighting, but if you’re young and you’re fun, you’ll fit right in.

Unlimited green tea

Beginning with a pot of green tea which is charged per person ($2.50 each), not per pot (yay for endless refills), we mulled over the menu. We decided to order just one main each, but if you’d like to sample more of the menu; ordering several entrees and a couple of items from the rice paper roll section of the menu is the way to go. On this, remember to share these tasty morsels with your friends. Some of the options we saw served to the people around us included the salad of mixed pickles ($6); the Red chicken nem nướng skewers ($8.90), and the Tofu rice paper rolls ($11.50), identifiable from the signature hot green chilli sauce that accompanied it.

Grilled chicken, cashew nut, herbs salad in lemongrass dressing.

We decided on the Grilled chicken, cashew nut, herbs salad in lemongrass dressing ($17.90), and the Black tiger prawn stir fry with okra and lemongrass chilli sauce ($19.50). Other tempting options included the Slow-cooked beef curry bò kho with lotus root ($19.50), Grilled Tasmanian ocean trout chả cá in herbs and spices ($22.90), or the Hội An papaya salad of five-spice duck fillet with basil, peanut and chilli ($20.90). The dishes, although not cheap, are substantial enough to justify the cost.

Black tiger prawn stir fry with okra and lemongrass chilli sauce.

At the end of the night, once we’ve had our fill of great food and conversations, there were plenty of gelato places nearby to indulge in some not so healthy dessert.

Rating: 8/10

Where: 333 Crown Street Surry Hills NSW.
Why: Tasty and healthy food.
Cost: Mains from $13.90 – $22.90
When: 7 days, 6-10pm.

Good for kids: No
Take away: Yes, phone to order.

Bay Tinh Vietnamese Restaurant, Crows Nest

The newest in a restaurant chain, Bay Tinh is a gem of a restaurant, located on busy Falcon street in Crows Nest. The food served is Traditional Vietnamese with a modern twist. Worried we might not get in on a Saturday night, we made a booking. Probably wise as although it’s a large restaurant, it was very busy with only a few free tables. It’s made up of three dining areas: a small front section, an upstairs area for large groups, and past the kitchen is a third dining area which is where we found our table. White brick walls have been lined with a bamboo style mat covering. Wall arches around the room contain inset silk cushions or frescos of Vietnamese landscapes giving the room a plush and colorful vibe. Red lanterns dangling from the ceiling, and the real potted palms lining the back wall finish off the look and transport you overseas to Saigon.

The number of patrons here for a Saturday night feed suggests that a delicious dinner is coming. The only negative being so many people means a lot of noise, making conversation a touch difficult.

the great preamble

The menu has a ridiculous number of options. It is a multiple paged booklet, and I love the preamble on the first couple of pages describing the restaurant’s origins, and the instructions on how guests should order. Individual dishes are a no no. Sharing Is a must. It’s a good thing too, because I want to try everything, and this way I get to taste few of the taste buds tempting options.

inside the bonfire, a house specialty.

With so many unique items on the menu, this is not a place to play it safe. Items like pork stuffed whole calamari and caramelised, claypot salmon are tempting; but we decided to order the seafood and vegetable soup $30, bonfire prawns and beef $28 and the quarter (Also served as a half) of deboned chicken stuffed with prawn mince, served with plum sauce $18.50.

the big communal soup pot

The service was excellent. Courteous, efficient and friendly. Napkins were placed on laps, water poured, and dishes served so fast there was no time to think ‘I’m hungry.’ The first course, seafood soup was placed on the table in a large communal pot and then served for us in to our individual bowls. It didn’t disappoint. This dish is hot, full of flavour, with the right amount of salt and chock full of seafood and fresh veggies. Perfect to warm you up on a drizzly night.

Bonfire beef and prawn

The second course was a house specialty, beef and prawn bonfire, one of the four meat options available. A pot of meat was placed on the table next to a large plate of stir-fry cut vegetables, and then the pot was set on fire. The waitress told us to wait a few minutes, and then departed with the promise to return to show us what to do. Thankfully, 10 minutes later she did. First came the rice paper disk. On it the fresh vegetables were placed, and then a small pile of the beef and prawn mixture before a drizzle of spicy peanut sauce. The whole concoction was then rolled. The trick, not to put too much filling in. It was delicious. Light, fresh and enough spice to leave a tingle in the mouth.

the assembly process

 

Our final dish, the boneless chicken quarter was also a house specialty, and it was a great way to end the meal. The chicken was sweet and tender, and was presented as a delectable fan drizzled in a silky sauce. Beautiful.

the delicious fan of meat

Using the restaurant’s entertainment book voucher, it was a delicious and excellent value meal. Can’t wait to return to try more.

a Vietnamese dinner is not complete without a pot of green tea

Rating: 9/10

Where: 16 Falcon street Crows Nest NSW
Why: great, unique Vietnamese food.
Cost: around $35 per person
When: Lunch Friday to Sunday. Dinner Tuesday to Sunday.

Good for kids: Yes, there is room for a pram but it is loud.
Take away: Yes, through menu log.