Location: Perth CBD
Having attended a few events at Langley Park I’ve seen a few restaurants opposite and one such restaurant is Southern Star Modern Vietnamese Cafe and Restaurant. If you’ve been a regular diner via Dimmi you should have earned a free meal and this restaurant is on the list as accepting the $50 voucher. I was really looking forward to some authentic Vietnamese food to remind me of my travels to Vietnam in December last year.
I walked in and the restaurant is quite large and open. I imagine during the day plenty of sunlight fills the restaurant and you have the view of the green grass of Langley Park and the Swan River too. I had a look at the menu and ordered the following:
Fresh Rice Paper Rolls $8.90
Rolled with prawns, chicken, vermicelli & herbs top up with hoisin sauce & crushed peanuts
The rice paper rolls were not what I was expecting. Instead of receiving individual rice paper rolls, one or two rice paper rolls were cut up into 6 pieces, akin to sushi. They had a hit of hoisin sauce and while the rice paper rolls were tender and had a nice filling and tasted delicious, it wasn’t authentic. When I was paying the bill, I was asking what region the food from Vietnam came from and the attendant said it’s a Westernised version of Vietnamese. I was rather disappointed because authentic Vietnamese food is so fresh and delicious. It isn’t jarring to a Westerner and is disappointing that cuisines are Westernised and not being presented in all their glory. More so with people travelling to countries in South East Asia and around the world.
Spicy Fish Cakes $8.90
Marinated fish patties with chilli, herbs & spices
Despite being a Vietnamese restaurant, they also offer dishes from neighbouring countries. Fish cakes are more Thai but they were yummy with the spicy dressing and salad. Vietnam does have influences from Cambodia and China in their cuisine being so close but I don’t think I ever spied any fish cakes on a menu whilst in Vietnam. Nonetheless, the entree along with the rice paper rolls presented nice flavours and provided a good lead into the mains to follow.
Beef Salad (spicy) $17.90
Grilled Beef fillet and mixed herbs blended in an exquisite dressing
Vietnam is famous for their myriad of fresh salads. There’s the usual boring salad and then there’s Vietnamese salads. They’re nearly a meal in itself so I definitely wanted to order one from the menu. The spicy beef salad contained tender beef with a lovely fresh salad and spicy dressing. It felt more Thai to me and definitely didn’t feel Vietnamese. I guess this is the Western spin on the dish. The dressing made a big difference and that’s been one thing in common with the dishes so far and Vietnamese cuisine, the dressings play a big part in the flavour of the dish.
Roast Duck & Lychee in Red Curry Sauce $27.90
Reading roast duck on the menu sounded like an excellent candidate to order so I did. Red curries are not Vietnamese but there certainly seems to be a mix or fusion of different cuisines. The roast duck was excellent. Succulent, juicy, tender. The lychee was a contrast along with the egg and I loved the red curry which had some kick. This was enjoyed with the steamed jasmine rice. I really enjoyed this dish which was the highlight of the night for me.
Saigon Chicken $22.90
Crispy chicken served with sweet chilli sauce & garden salad
Running a close second to the roast duck is the Saigon chicken. I really loved the Saigon chicken which had a lovely crispy skin from beginning to the end of the meal. The chicken was tender and that sweet and slightly acidic dressing with the salad was excellent too.
Creme Caramel $6
Vanilla Ice Cream and Lychees $7.50
We were pretty full after all that but there’s always room for desserts. These are desserts others ordered and enjoyed. They also have a cake of the day but it wasn’t available for today. I was surprised to see creme caramel at a Vietnamese restaurant, but then there’s the French influence. There are many a Vietnamese bakery in Perth selling all kinds of breads, but plenty of yummy pastries. They have learnt the skills from the French and are put to good effect. So creme caramel does not look out of place.
Steamed Banana, Sticky Rice, Coconut Milk $7.50
I’m a fan of sticky rice desserts and this dessert was interesting. The banana coated the outside while the filling was comprised of the sticky rice. It was submerged in a lot of coconut milk which provided a nice mild coconut flavour plus a touch of creaminess. Pretty good.
Southern Star Modern Vietnamese Food Review Summary
Verdict: I guess the name of the restaurant says it all – “Modern”, not authentic, Westernised Vietnamese cuisine. While disappointed not to be eating the real thing, the fusion or mix of dishes from neighbouring countries, provided several dishes with interesting flavours. None of the dishes were poor, each one flavoursome and characterised by a sweet dressing of sorts which added further flavour. I particularly enjoyed the roast duck and lychee in red curry which was excellent. A close second was the Saigon chicken with crispy skin and tender flesh. The beef salad had a bit of kick and was quite fresh and the entrees of rice paper rolls and fish cakes were a lovely way to kick the night off. My steamed banana and sticky rice dessert in coconut milk was pretty good too. A lovely restaurant with a range of tasty dishes, wide open space, friendly service and takeaway also available.
Southern Star Modern Vietnamese Cafe and Restaurant Details
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