We tried this place one lunchtime when we were looking for a cheap Vietnamese feed. It’s great to see a new restaurant on this strip of Illawarra Rd which is a bit different to all the basic, super-cheap (yet wonderful) places such as Pho Bac Hai Duong, Pho Ha Noi Quan and Old Thanh Huong.
While Yen for Viet still has its own signature pho ($10) and bun dishes ($10-12), the rest of the menu is more “restaurant” style, offering dishes such as pork belly stewed in coconut juice with Vietnamese pickles, bo luc lac and even creme caramel for dessert. The ambience is simple but elegant – and each table has a built-in gas cooker for bonfire dishes! Cool!
We ordered some goi cuon to start with, even though in the past Mr Black hasn’t really been a huge fan. These were the best I’ve had in Sydney! They had a perfect balance of fresh herbs (no coriander thankfully), were wrapped firmly, and had really excellent quality, perfectly cooked pork and prawns inside. Plus, they brought of a little bowl of hoisin and peanut dipping sauce each!
As we were there for lunch on a hot day, I was keen to try one of the salads. They all sounded delicious and I appreciated the detail in the description, as well as the fact that they all had different vegetables. I chose the green mango salad with pork, the most expensive at $18. Worth every cent! Cool, crunchy, tart green mango with loads of herbs, crisp fried shallots for little flavour explosions and a delicious, garlicky and spicy dressing. And perfect pork and prawns again!
Mr Black ordered a curried pork dish with herbs and coconut milk – not the kind of thing I usually go for when eating Vietnamese but he loves trying new curries. This one was full of tender pork, onion and wood ear fungus. It was dominated by the “curry” flavour (you know that Vietnamese curry powder taste) but thankfully lifted by the delicious fragrance of fresh Thai basil.
We were really impressed with this new addition to Illawarra Road and will definitely be back to take our time and linger over dinner and a bottle of wine.