Twee's Hut Vietnamese Favourites

Eating Out : Twee’s Hut Vietnamese Favourites, Melbourne VIC

Twee's Hut Vietnamese Favourites

 

It was our first day in back Melbourne and Juz wanted nothing more than a big bowl of pho.  Even though we’re travelling around the country, she’s still interested in the Melbourne food scene, curious about which restaurants are on the top and whether there are any new places taking Melbourne foodies by storm.

 

A few months ago, Juz received an invitation to try out a new Vietnamese place in the CBD, and since we were in town, it was an offer she couldn’t refuse.  So, for our first day in Melbourne, we found ourselves driving into the city during lunchtime to sample the offerings of Twee’s Hut Vietnamese Favourites.  Now, maybe we’d been a bit spoilt in Darwin, because we had completely forgotten how frustrating and painful driving in the Melbourne CBD can be.  Not to mention finding parking!

 

However, when we walked in to Twee’s Hut, all was forgotten with the sultry aromas of Vietnamese cooking.  It was evident that the lunchtime rush was over and this gave us the perfect opportunity to introduce ourselves to Ricky.

 

Twee's Hut Vietnamese Favourites

 

Ricky and his wife Thuy used to be office workers, bound to their desks day in and day out.  While they had thought about changing the scenery and opening up a Vietnamese restaurant, it wasn’t until a cancer scare opened their eyes and made them realise how short life is.   After a lot of planning and hard work, Twee’s Hut was born in November 2013.

 

Their story really resonated with us – our situation was fairly similar before we decided to pack up all our belongings and travel around the country.

 

The philosophy behind Twee’s Hut Vietnamese Favourites is revealed in the name – to showcase the favourites of authentic Vietnamese home cooking and create a very warm and familiar atmosphere that’s just like home.  Their passion for great food drives them to produce dishes of high standards, and Thuy won’t send anything out unless she’s happy with it.

 

Twee's Hut Vietnamese Favourites

 

On that note, it was time to order.  While Juz was certain she’d have the beef pho, Dave was seduced by a piece of roast pork with crackling in the window.  He ended up ordering some with rice for now and some in a Bánh Mi ‘Captain Baguette’ pork roll for later.  We also got the signature dish – Soul Bowl – which is a combination noodle dish that consists of two kinds of noodles, pork, prawn, a little quail egg, crushed peanuts, fried shallots and coriander with a side of chicken broth.

 

Everything was amazing in its own way.  The flavours and textures of the Soul Bowl were fantastic, especially when you scoop a spoonful of pork mince, peanuts and fried onion into your mouth for an explosion of flavour.  Juz’s beef pho was clean and very well balanced, with the sliced raw onion amplifying the savoury flavour and the lime juice provided the perfect amount of tang to contrast the subtle sweetness.  Dave’s roast pork was the star of the show with its mighty crunch of crackling.  The meat was super juicy and not oversalted, so the flavour of the pork really stood out.

 

Twee's Hut Vietnamese Favourites

 

We had definitely eaten our fill and thanked Ricky for his warm hospitality before we headed back to the car with pork roll in hand.  Later that night, after a catch up with friends at the pub, we got home and Dave found the roast pork roll in the fridge.  The crackling still had its crunch and that unmistakably addictive flavour, and the roll disappeared in a flash.

 

Twee's Hut Vietnamese Favourites

 

We’re glad that we accepted Ricky’s invitation to visit Twee’s Hut.  We really enjoyed their story because we could relate and it validated our reasons for setting off around Australia. Ricky was also a great host who warmly greeted customers and wished a regular all the best with their new baby.  It was really heart-warming to see someone being so genuinely interested in his customers, but after all, Twee’s Hut has another purpose other than serving delicious food.  They want to provide an experience that revolves around caring and sharing, and promotes happiness and health.  They even donate a portion of their sales of Fru-G Lifters to the Cancer Council!  If only we had room in our bellies for one of those…

 

So if you’re in the CBD and hungry for a delicious meal made with love, visit Twee’s Hut – you won’t be disappointed.

 
 
http://tweeshut.com.au/
 

Chow!

Eating Out : Chow!, Darwin NT

Chow!

A new Vietnamese restaurant opened in Darwin while we were there and after dubbing Saigon Star as the provider of the best pho, we realised we had a new contender to sample.  We set our expectations fairly low and walked down to the Waterfront for a feed.

 

We arrived just as they opened and chose a table inside next to the window.  The décor was clean and attractive with a pretty feature wall and fabric lighting fixtures around a central bar.  We ordered some beer while we perused the menu.  While the laksa, Vietnamese savoury crepes and Lemongrass chicken caught our eye, Juz went with a beef pho and Dave selected the wonton and BBQ pork egg noodle soup.

 

Chow!

 

Our lunch came out fast, and was presented beautifully in designer crockery.  At first, Juz was a little disappointed that the ritual of adding fresh herbs to the soup herself was taken away, but after tasting the soup with the herbs already included, she realised there was a new winner.  The broth was clear and fresh and was beautiful balanced with cinnamon and star anise.  The noodles were soft, silky and fresh while the beef was tender and extra delicious when dipped in the provided plum sauce.

 

Dave’s soup was colourful but didn’t have as much appeal as Juz’s pho.  The dumplings were a little bland and the noodles needed more time to cook, but the broth was tasty.

 

Chow!

 

Overall, we really liked Chow! and look forward to our next visit.  They have a great selection of beer, their cocktails have funny names and the pho was absolutely delicious – quite possibly the best pho Juz has had since we left Melbourne.

 

http://www.chowdarwin.com.au/

 

Chow! on Urbanspoon

 

Beef pho @ Saigon Star

Eating Out : Saigon Star, Darwin NT

Juz was working a temp reception role in Darwin city and had an hour off for lunch so she went down the street to find some pho.  There were two places – one was a bit fancy and had pho on the menu for $15 while Saigon Star was less fancy, had more people eating there, and a bowl only cost $11.50.

 

Saigon Star

 

The restaurant was divided into two, with a few places to eat inside by the counter and a larger outdoor sunroom that was enclosed and air conditioned so you could eat on the street without getting drenched in sweat.  After sitting down at a table that overlooked Smith Street, Juz was impressed with the super fast service.  The waitress took the order, returned with a bottle of water and a glass, and within 10 minutes, Juz had a big bowl of pho in front of her with all the garnishes and sauces on the side.

 

Beef pho @ Saigon Star

 

The soup was great – full of fresh ingredients, pieces of tender beef and flavoursome broth.  Juz used all the herbs, a handful of bean shoots, a few slices of red chilli and all the juice she could squeeze out of the wedge of lemon.  On a side plate, she squirted a blob of chilli sauce for the beef that she fished out from amongst the rice noodles.  It was really filling and hit the spot perfectly.

 

Juz will have to bring Dave here for a nice dinner sometime – crispy skin chicken, grilled pork chops, Vietnamese coleslaw with chicken and squid – but what was really missing from the menu was Che Ba Mau, or three colour bean drink.  This dessert drink is the best and really refreshing on a hot day.
Vietnamese Saigon Star on Urbanspoon

Phong Vinh

Eating Out : Phong Vinh Vietnamese & Chinese Noodle House, Perth WA

After a slightly disappointing experience at Mama Tran in the city, we soon realised that there was something going on with the Vietnamese cuisine image.  While you had your typical Vietnamese place with the bad service, old 90s décor and fluoro chopsticks, new outlets were opening up around the city with fancy pants service, stylish new décor and trendy names like iPho and What the Pho?.  Good on them for trying to modernise and funkify Vietnamese cuisine, but we still think the good, old fashioned way is best – neon lights, clashing colours, and terrible background music featuring covers from Celine Dion and Barbara Streisand.

 

 

We were meeting up with an old Melbourne drinking buddy and his girlfriend.  After a brief catch up, the waitress was over with a notepad to take our orders.  The menu had numbers and lots of pictures to make ordering extra easy.

 

The wait wasn’t long at all.  First up were fried wontons with a creamy mayonnaise sauce and pork spring rolls with a light dipping sauce.  Juz reckons the yummy wonton skins might have had curry powder in them, while the pork spring rolls were full of stuffing, fresh and delicious.

 

Juz got the beef pho and it was satisfactory.  The cloudy broth was dominated by flavours of cinnamon and cloves and had a thin slick of oil on the top.  It was deliciously flavoursome and went well with the fresh mint leaves that were provided with the green chilli, lemon and bean sprouts. The noodles were a little too soft to be al dente but were still silky and scrumptious.  Dave’s choice was an egg noodle soup with a side of grilled pork.  Dave thought the grilled pork was amazing and completely overshadowed the Chinese egg noodle soup.

 

 

At the end, we ordered a three colour drink and ice cream with sticky taro rice to share.  The three colour drink was cool and refreshing, with sweet coconut poured over jelly pieces, red kidney beans and split mung beans – YUM!  The sticky taro rice that came with the ice cream was sticky and sweet and reminded Juz of pudding.

 

We walked out of Phong Vinh fully satisfied and still with a bit of money to go to the pub and grab a beer.  You can always count on a traditional Vietnamese restaurant to give you a good feed for your dollar.

 

 

Phong Vinh Vietnamese & Chinese Noodle House on Urbanspoon