My favourite Vietnamese in the inner west is undoubtedly Thanh Binh on King. However, since their prices are a little higher than my $25pp standard, I only really go there for occasions or when in large groups (for the kick-arse banquets). Tre Viet, on the other hand, is great for dinner before a night in the ‘Town. Relaxed atmosphere, friendly staff and a buzzy, always-busy dining room set the scene for a great dinner. On my last trip to Tre Viet I managed to leave my camera at home (d’oh) and my iPhone (D’OH!) so I had to rely on Missy Moo’s iPhone for photos. Thanks! Due to
my current obsession with banh xeo, we ordered one as an entree. We also got two other entrees Missy Moo and I always have to order: papaya salad and nem tre viet.
The banh xeo is very crisp and coconutty, generously filled with excellent quality sprouts and pork. It divides into four perfectly and comes already cut. Helpful. The green papaya salad is a good size and comes accompanied by prawn crackers. It is topped with fresh tender prawns and pork, shredded herbs such as perilla, a little chilli and crushed toasted peanuts. The dressing is delicious but I must warn you, it is very heavy on the (raw) garlic. We always end up a bit stinky!
The Nem Tre Viet are a specialty and absolutely stunning. Two rolls of pork mince, prawn, mushroom, herbs and veges; deep fried, sliced on the diagonal and served with a light, delicately sweet and salty sauce (similar to that in Ben Ngu‘s beef salad) which the hot, juicy rolls just soak up like sponge. Bite through the crisp outside to find a delight of moist and flavoursome porky filling. Absolutely to die for!
Our mains were charcoal grilled beef, prawn and vegetable stir-fry and salt and pepper tofu. (Others that we love here but didn’t order on this occasion include caramelised fish in hotpot, caramelised pork in hotpot, stir-fried chilli and lemongrass dishes, crispy skin chicken and bo luc lac.) We ordered the stir-fry instead of a plain vegetable dish, and we expected it to be not too rich or intense in flavour. It was simple, light and enjoyable.
The charcoal beef was well cooked, tender and full of flavour, accompanied by a light dipping sauce. I love how Tre Viet give loads of delicious salad greens, herbs and pickled vegetables with every dish!
Last but certainly not least, the salt and pepper tofu. Gosh they do it well here! Light and crispy outsides encase hot, soft juicy innards, topped with slivers of intensely flavoured garlic, deep-fried chillies and spring onion. I challenge anyone who says they don’t like tofu not to enjoy this dish!
The four of us were stuffed and happy at just $26 including tip and corkage.