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Tag Archives: vietnamese

QT Kitchen (Glen Iris, Melbourne)

It’s quite refreshing to see new and interesting restaurants open up in the suburbs, than crowding up in and around the city fringes.

QT Kitchen is  one such new venture headed by young chef Kevin, and specializes in modern Vietnamese cuisine. So I was quite excited to check out the food here when I received an invite from AGFG and QT.

QT Kitchen (Glen Iris, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Chef Kevin has been in the industry for about 16 years starting first in Vietnam and then moving to Australia about 10 years ago. After working with several reputed restaurant groups including the Mantra group, he opened QT Kitchen 1.5 years ago.

From the time he began helping out his grandmom in her kitchen, Chef Kevin has always dreamt about having a restaurant of his own, where he can showcase his passion and love for cooking. Formally trained in Italian cuisine, at QT, he has combined that technical knowledge with traditional Vietnamese flavours using local Australian produce.

And his efforts have not gone unnoticed; QT Kitchen was quick to gain popularity as a friendly neighbourhood restaurant where you can go with your family and friends for excellent food, friendly atmosphere and genuine customer service. Perhaps why the restaurant won the 2019 AGFG Reader’s Choice Award!

The restaurant does have a very friendly vibe and that’s one of the first things you notice when you walk in. The staff are super friendly and genuine in their interactions. We were welcomed with colourful balloons imprinted with my blog’s name (I was totally blown away!) and since it was around Christmas time when we visited, there were party crackers for us to have fun with before the food and drinks arrived.

QT Kitchen (Glen Iris, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

And this service was not just extended to me; I noticed that the staff were friendly to all customers and went out of their way to make you feel special if you were celebrating or having a get together etc…

The ambience matches the cuisine at QT; contemporary vibes with accents of traditional Vietnamese/Asian décor pieces. Warm and inviting yet modern; Chef Kevin wanted to move away from the image that Vietnamese food is always street hawker style; it can be more and that’s what he has tried to showcase through his food and space.

QT Kitchen (Glen Iris, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

QT Kitchen (Glen Iris, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Now let’s get to the drinks….

(All the details of each dish will be outlined below each image)

The drinks menu is a decent sized one with plenty of Australian wines and standard medley of liquors and cocktails.

QT Kitchen (Glen Iris, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

It was a warm day and I opted for the Strawberry Margarita. And just as you would expect, it’s a refreshing light cocktail; perfect for those looking for something sweet and fresh, not necessarily a heady rush.)

QT Kitchen (Glen Iris, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Sam got a glass of the Hollick “The Bard” Cab Sauv 2016, Coonawarra SA. Rich with flavours of wild berries and blackberry, this red is perfect for those who like bold flavours and pairs excellent with the meaty dishes on the menu.

QT Kitchen (Glen Iris, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Chef Kevin wanted me to try out one of their signature cocktails, Bonjour Vietnam (Bacardi rum, vodka, Pina colada, blue curacao & pineapple juice). It tasted good but I am not a big fan of Pina colada or blue curacao so not the best choice for me. But if you enjoy tropical flavours, then it’s a cocktail you must try.

And now onto the food…

QT Kitchen (Glen Iris, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Grilled Wagyu Beef in Wild Betel Leaves, with house pickles, peanuts and Sriracha mayo, served on crispy crackers. And absolute cracker of a dish…it delivers everything; presentation, taste, texture. A very traditional dish from Vietnam, it’s one of my favourites and I loved this modern interpretation too. A must try from the small bites menu.

QT Kitchen (Glen Iris, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

One of the most interesting dishes on the menu! Bushman Lamb Shank herbs crusted, Victorian beetroot, chestnut, pancetta crisps. I have never tasted a dish like these before; really unique flavours for me. The herb crusting gives it a crunchy exterior though the meat was cooked well but could be a tad bit tender. The combination of beets, chestnuts and pancetta takes the dish to another whole level. Not to mention that roasted garlic; make sure you squeeze it out for that smoky sweetness.

QT Kitchen (Glen Iris, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Crispy line caught whole Baby Snapper with citrus salsa and hot tamarind caramel – a signature QT Kitchen dish that is so reminiscent of Vietnamese flavours. Another traditional dish that has been reinvented at QT, the snapper was beautifully cooked, crunchy on the outside but flaky inside. The citrus salsa was brilliant and I loved the caramel but the sourness could have been better balanced. But having said that, I would totally order this one again.

QT Kitchen (Glen Iris, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Homemade red curry, aromatic coconut broth, seasonal veggies and lychee with barramundi fillet. The presentation was amazing with an earthen pot of rice on the side. The curry was so flavourful and loved the addition of lychee. It was not spicy enough for me but I guess that’s my taste buds. But another must try at QT.

QT Kitchen (Glen Iris, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

And a side that I always buy if it’s available on the menu – marinated cucumbers. A perfect accompaniment to any kind of dish that you order. If you haven’t tried it, you most definitely should.

To summarize, QT Kitchen is a great spot to enjoy a modern take on Vietnamese cuisine. The food is great, the service excellent and I can’t wait to go back.

QT Kitchen

Shop 2/10-12 High Street,
Glen Iris,
Melbourne

Phone no: 03 9885 2009

Website: https://qtkitchen.com.au/

Timings:
 
Mon: Closed
Tue: 5pm – 10pm
Wed: 5pm – 10pm
Thurs: 12pm – 10pm
Fri: 12pm – 10pm
Sat: 12pm – 10pm
Sun: 12pm – 10pm

QT Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Disclaimer – I dined as a guest of AGFG and QT Kitchen; but all the opinions expressed are entirely mine and unbiased. 

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Hanoi Mee Kitchen and Bar (Port Melbourne)

I have not ventured much into the dining scene of Port Melbourne so I was quite excited when I got an invite from Australian Good Food Guide (AGFG) to check out Hanoi Mee Kitchen and Bar.

Situated on Rouse Street, Hanoi Mee has a small but vibrant and colourful space. The interiors are tastefully done and represent modern Vietnamese in every nook and corner. Traditional crafts share space with modern industrial vibes to create a beautiful space that’s perfect for after work drinks or dinner with friends and family.

Hanoi Mee Kitchen and Bar (Port Melbourne)  - thespiceadventuress.com

Hanoi Mee Kitchen and Bar (Port Melbourne)  - thespiceadventuress.com

Chef Ennis Le has created a menu that’s distinctly Vietnamese yet very modern in its approach to flavours. Drawing inspiration from the local produce combined with his flair for creativity and attention to details and presentation, Hanoi Mee is a great dining experience for those seeking to explore Vietnamese flavours in a contemporary style.

For drinks, we ordered the Chilli Mojito (white rum, St. Germain liqueur, lime, chilli, mint, ginger/chilli syrup and soda) and the Port Melbourne Mar-Tea-Ni (tea infused vodka, peach liqueur, mango liqueur, lemon juice and egg white).

The Chilli Mojito was the clear winner; it’s spicy, punchy yet balanced perfectly. Highly recommended!

Hanoi Mee Kitchen and Bar (Port Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Hanoi Mee Kitchen and Bar (Port Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

The ‘Small Bite’s section of the menu looked so interesting and we wanted to try out quite a few dishes. So instead of a-la-carte, we ordered ‘Best Bits’ which is a selection of seven of the signature starters from the menu. A good way to sample a variety of dishes and a great option for a tapas style dinner.

We started with the Calamari, crab and shrimp spring rolls which were served with lettuce, herbs and nuoc cham. I absolutely love Vietnamese style spring rolls; the best in my opinion and this modern version was super delicious. Super crunchy covering which I think was made from fried noodles; these spring rolls really set the bar high for the remaining meal.

Hanoi Mee Kitchen and Bar (Port Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

The next dish arrived with much fanfare; Confit salmon with coconut, avocado, granny smith apple and wasabi caviar served in sesame cone. A very modern interpretation of some classic flavours, I was a bit apprehensive of how it would taste. But it was delightful; light and subtle with all the flavours in perfect balance.

Hanoi Mee Kitchen and Bar (Port Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Next to arrive were the Steamed prawn dumplings. Now we cannot dine at any Asian themed restaurant without ordering dumplings, that’s like the gold standard. And Hanoi Mee didn’t disappoint; kept it true and delicious.

Hanoi Mee Kitchen and Bar (Port Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

The next to taste was the Yellow tail king fish, pomelo, young coconut shredded on betel leaves. Another small bite that I would highly recommend; morsels of deliciousness indeed.

Hanoi Mee Kitchen and Bar (Port Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

You have to try out the Black pepper sticky pork belly bun with cucumber, spring onion and chilli. The flavours were amazing; the bun was really soft but I felt that the pork belly could have been sliced thin so that the pork didn’t feel overpowering.

Hanoi Mee Kitchen and Bar (Port Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Sweet chilli chicken wingettes with crispy shallots and coriander – this one’s for all the chicken wing lovers. Crispy yet tender and juicy inside tossed with Asian flavours of sweet, spicy, tangy; it was a delightful snack.

Hanoi Mee Kitchen and Bar (Port Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Another dish that I was quite interested to try was the Sher Wagyu steak tartare with ginger, fried shallots on crispy rice cracker. This is the first time I have tried tartare infused with Asian flavours and I was not at all disappointed. A tad bit salty but the overall taste was amazing especially when paired with the crunch from the crackers.

Hanoi Mee Kitchen and Bar (Port Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

The final dish that we tried from the Small Bites section was the Spring bay mussels steamed in Hanoi beer with Vietnamese mint, lemongrass, ginger and chilli. I am a huge mussels fan so I was happy to dig into this; subtle yet lots of punch from the aromatics and chilli.

Hanoi Mee Kitchen and Bar (Port Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Now these small bites are more than enough to fill you up, but we couldn’t come away without trying out any mains.

So from Mains, we chose the Hanoi Mee signature dish; Caramelised pork hock with tamarind caramel sauce served with cos lettuce, fragrant herbs, pickled carrots and papaya. First of all let me tell you that this is a huge dish that is clearly meant to be shared unless you have a matching appetite.

The caramelized sauce encrusted crispy skin on the pork was just heavenly. The meat was succulent and juicy mostly but owing to its sheer size, there were a few places where the meat had started to get dry. But inspite of that, it was super delicious. The best way to have the dish is to cut out slices of the meat and roll it inside the lettuce topped with the fresh herbs and pickles.

Hanoi Mee Kitchen and Bar (Port Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Hanoi Mee Kitchen and Bar (Port Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

To go along with the mains, we also got the Crispy soft shell crab, mango and papaya salad with a ginger dressing. The salad works as a dish just by itself and generous portions too. If you love soft shell crab, then do give this salad a try. Again highly recommended.

Hanoi Mee Kitchen and Bar (Port Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

In a nutshell, Hanoi Mee is an excellent spot to experience modern Vietnamese cuisine. The flavours are distinctly Vietnamese yet in a contemporary Australian setting; the best of both worlds. I can’t wait to go back.

Hanoi Mee Kitchen & Bar

140 Rouse Street,
Port Melbourne VIC 3207
hanoimee@gmail.com

Phone no: (03) 9042 7921

Timings:

Sunday: 11:30am – 10:00pm
Monday: 5:00pm – 10:00pm
Tuesday: 5:00pm – 10:00pm
Wednesday: 5:00pm – 10:00pm
Thursday: 5:00pm – 10:00pm
Friday: 5:00mm – 10:00pm
Saturday 5:00pm – 10:00pm

Disclaimer – I dined as a guest on behalf of AGFG at Hanoi Mee. All the photographs and opinions remain entirely mine.

Hanoi Mee Kitchen & Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Vietnamese Prawn Spring Rolls (with Sweet n’ Spicy Dipping Sauce)

The looong Easter weekend is finally over and it’s back to work today. Well, not quite for me as the little fellow is at home for his term break. So technically, the holiday mood continues…

Last term holidays, Adi handed out invitations to his friends for play dates without asking me. So I found myself caught in completely unprepared situations having to think on the spur for interesting snacks to feed the brood. Though eventually that play date fell upon another mom’s shoulders, I didn’t want a repeat of that scenario this time too so decided to stock up on some finger food before hand, something I know children love to munch on.

And that is how these Vietnamese Prawn Spring Rolls came to be.

Vietnamese Prawns Spring Rolls - The ultimate party snack for kids and adults alike - thespiceadventuress.com

We are all familiar with spring rolls especially the deep fried ones. Perhaps, one of our all time favourite ones in the snack list. There are so many fillings that can be used, both vegetarian and non vegetarian. But I must admit that I am partial to pork and prawn spring rolls.

One of the best spring rolls that I have eaten is at a small Vietnamese restaurant near home. They serve thin, crispy spring rolls to be dunked in a delicious dipping sauce. And traditionally, these spring rolls are eaten wrapped inside lettuce leaves and a couple of mint leaves. Though generally iceberg lettuce is used, I enjoyed this with cos lettuce this time. Let me tell you, once you have it this way, you will not want to eat spring rolls any other way.

The cool crispiness of the lettuce followed by the crunchy deliciousness of the spring roll finishing off with minty freshness and all of it tied together by the sweet and spicy dipping sauce.

Vietnamese Prawns Spring Rolls - The ultimate party snack for kids and adults alike - thespiceadventuress.com

So you get the point…it is delicious!

Now Adi is not too fond of the lettuce/mint leaves/dipping sauce combo; he just prefers dunking it in store brought sweet chilli sauce. And I am sure his buddies are gonna think the same. But all of us do agree on one thing that these Vietnamese prawn spring rolls are the best.

Psst…..I also managed to sneak in some extra amount of carrots. I am sure the mummies are gonna love the idea.

If you are making spring rolls for the first time, then you might take a bit of practice to get it right but hey, it’s no rocket science. I hope the images are helpful or you can just watch any ‘how to make spring roll’ video on YouTube.

collage

Apart from these spring rolls, I am also planning to make these Chilli Chicken Bites and Upma Cutlets. Do you have any easy suggestions that I could try out? Would love to hear all of it….

Without wasting any more time, let’s get frying these delicious Vietnamese prawn spring rolls!

Ingredients:

(Makes around 26 rolls)

For the spring rolls:

  1. 1 packet spring roll pastry (small )
  2. 300 gms prawns; deshelled and deveined
  3. 1 large carrot; grated
  4. 1 medium onion; finely chopped
  5. 1 tbsp garlic powder
  6. 1 tsp sugar
  7. 1 tsp black pepper
  8. Salt, to season
  9. Paste mixture for sealing the pastry:
  • 1 tsp all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp water
  1. Vegetable oil; for deep frying

For the dipping sauce:

  1. 2 tbsp vinegar
  2. 3 tbsp fish sauce
  3. 2 tbsp sugar
  4. 1 cup water
  5. ½ tsp chilli paste (optional)

To serve:

  1. 2 heads of Cos lettuce; leaves separated
  2. A bunch of mint leaves

Method:

  1. Mince or finely chop the prawns. Remember it should have a bite so do not overmince to a paste like texture.
  2. Add the carrots and onions along with the garlic, sugar, pepper and salt. Mix well to combine till you get a uniform consistency.
  3. Mix the flour and water to get a paste like consistency which is to be used for sealing the ends of the pastry.
  4. It is faster if you separate your pastry sheets in advance and store in an air tight container or zip lock bag to prevent drying out. Alternately, you can separate the sheets that you want and then wrap in a damp cloth, removing one at a time.
  5. Place the sheet in a diamond shape (i.e. one pointed end of the sheet towards you as depicted in the picture).
  6. Place a small amount of the filling at the end towards you (do not overload with filling as this tends the roll to break open while frying). Hold the edge and fold over the filling towards the other end and then pull it tightly towards you so that the filling is nestled tightly inside. The tighter the roll, the better will be the shape of your spring roll and also helps it from breaking in the oil.
  7. Fold the other two ends towards each other and roll the whole thing into a cylinder. Seal the end with the flour paste to secure it tightly. Place in an airtight container and cover with lid immediately to prevent drying out.
  8. Repeat the same for all the rolls.
  9. Heat enough oil in a deep pan to deep fry the rolls. To check if the oil is hot enough, insert a chopstick or wooden spoon; if you can notice bubbling around the wooden part, then the temperature is right. Do not over heat the oil as this will burn the rolls outside without cooking the inside prawn meat.
  10. Also, fry only 4-5 rolls at a time in a medium sized pan. Overcrowding leads to a temperature drop which results in soggy rolls.
  11. Fry the rolls in batches and place in a strainer. Remove after a few minutes to a kitchen paper. Avoid stacking up to ensure that the crispness stays longer.
  12. To prepare the dipping sauce, mix together all the ingredients; taste and adjust seasoning accordingly.
  13. Serve on a large platter with the spring rolls, lettuce, mint leaves and dipping sauce so that each person can customize to individual taste preferences.

Note:

  • Spring roll pastry sheets come in both small and large sizes. I have used small ones in this recipe but if you are using large, then adjust the recipe accordingly.
  • Prawn meat can be substituted with any meat of choice. You can also make a vegetarian version with mashed veggies of choice.

Vietnamese Prawns Spring Rolls - The ultimate party snack for kids and adults alike - thespiceadventuress.com

Vietnamese Prawns Spring Rolls - The ultimate party snack for kids and adults alike - thespiceadventuress.com

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