Wednesday, January 12, 2011

January 3, 2011: Thanh Nga Nine II

Cindy and I have had a few shots at checking out Loving Hut on Victoria St, but have consistently turned up to find them closed. Unsurprisingly we failed again on the new years day public holiday, but the ride out to Richmond wasn't in vain.  We had Thanh Nga Nine up our sleeve, a veg-friendly Vietnamese place that had taken our fancy on our first visit.

The ride there had combined my afternoon sleepiness with some overheating, so the Vietnamese iced white coffee ($3) was the perfect beverage - sweet, cold and super strong, the caffeine and ice soon had me feeling human again. Cindy couldn't resist ordering the Thanh Nga Nine Special Lemon ($4), which had the same delicious ice pile as my coffee and tasted essentially like iced tea.

We based our food ordering almost entirely on a comment Ruth left on our last post, starting with the vegetarian mini pancakes($9).

These were amazing little crispy delights: rice pancakes filled with a fried chunk of tofu, various delicious herbs and spices and served up with coconut cream and chilli sauce (we didn't detect the faux-shrimp Ruth promised but were still completely won over). They were just outstanding - it was painful to have to share them.

Luckily, our other order was almost as successful: spicy salt and pepper fish-tofu ($15, note: no fish were harmed in the making of this dish).

Just look at that picture! Gloriously deep-fried tofu and seaweed chunks, dressed with crispy peanuts, red and green capsicum pieces and secret chunks of chilli. I dabbed on a bit of the excellent chilli sauce from amongst the available condiments and I was in lunch heaven. We'd been pretty excited to try out the special tofu balls for dessert but we were both too full and dessert would have left us incapable of eating dinner before 11 at night.  We'll have to return for another shot soon.

The only quibble with Thanh Nga Nine is the service - it's friendly enough, but everything's a bit slapdash. Our two drinks came about 15 minutes apart, and the meals were served up one after the other (it was lucky we'd decided to share it all). Still, I can forgive a bit of disorganisation when the end result is a lunch as delicious as this. Highly recommended.

Read about our previous visit to Thanh Nga Nine here.

Since we first visited, M1rr0r, Happiness is a Warm Gut, Half-Eaten and Niche have enjoyed cheap meaty feasts at TNN, while My Food Odyssey had a less enjoyable time.

We're pretty in love with Thanh Nga Nine, but if anyone has other veg-friendly Vietnamese recommendations drop us a comment, I really want to explore more of what Victoria St (and beyond) has to offer.


  1. I wonder if they have changed the menu since I was there - I had the pancakes with faux shrimp and couldn't cope with the shrimp - faux meat isn't my thing - but I would love some without the shrimp.

    Re: comment about the services - I can't remember it that well but remember talking to one of the staff about vegetarian dishes and the menu and he was really lovely and quite prepared to take on board feedback

  2. I had a family lunch last Saturday in Victoria St and being the vego I got to choose where we ate. Thanh Nga Nine had been on my hit list for a while but it didn't quite live up to my expectations, partly due to a poor selection of dishes on my part! My husband and I shared the spicy salted eggplant (which I didn't find spicy at all) and the water spinach with garlic which was OK. My sister had the mock fish-tofu and loved it (as did my husband when he snuck a bite). I have to agree that the service was quite poor, it took forever for our drinks to arrive and the food came out in dribs and drabs. I would like to go back and try the Pho one day though...

  3. I love the pancakes and they are my main reason for visiting. Last week has salt and pepper eggplant. More like battered deep fried eggplant, but nice if you like that kind of thing. If Treit (not sure spelling?) the owner is around, he's very helpful. Well worth speaking to him before you order to get his advice - whether it's to duck the faux meat or order the tastiest, most balanced vego banquet.

  4. A trip to Ikea last night brought us back to Thanh Nga Nine so soon as hubby was determined to have his plate of mock fish-tofu. Even in my omni days I was never a seafood lover however I found the taste of this not to be overly fishy. He also selected the broccoli with garlic which was so much nicer than the water spinach we had previously. I ordered the vegetarian Pho and was expecting it to be full of mock meat (including fish balls which I definitely would have skipped) but I was pleasantly surprised when it arrived full of fresh vegies only - so delicious!!! The service was really quick as we arrived around 6:30 before they became busy. Loving Hut had been on the cards but that will have to wait until another time.

  5. Johanna, I suspect the menu has indeed changed since you blogged about this restaurant. There is now a note at the bottom of the vegetarian section noting that dishes contain mock meat, which can be replaced with vegetables on request. Maybe that's a response to your discussion with staff!

    AOF, I don't know Treit by name but he might have been the person who took our order; he had a nice manner about him and seemed to know the menu well.

    Mel, thanks for reporting on your two visits! Sounds like you found some dishes to love in the end. :-) While we were there I commented to Michael that I would visit TNN with him again and again, but probably not bring groups of friends due to the unreliable service.

  6. Nhân chuyến công tác ở Úc Đại Lợi, chúng tôi có ghé thăm tiểu bang Melbourne, nơi quy tụ đông đảo người Việt làm ăn, buôn bán, sinh sống. Nơi đến là đường Victoria vùng Richmond, chúng tôi chọn địa điểm ăn trưa tại nhà hàng số 150, Thanh Nga Nine (9) rất ngon và đông khách, nhất là giá cả rất phải chăng. Chúng tôi được đón tiếp rất niềm nở, săn sóc thực khách rất ân cần, chu đáo do chính chủ nhân nhà hàng_(Cô Nga)_đến giới thiệu những món đặc sản rất được ưa chuộng như bánh Khọt Sóc Trăng, gỏi cuốn tôm thịt đặc biệt ( thật ngon với thịt ba rọi, bún, tôm đỏ au cuốn rất khéo), bò bía, chạo tôm, bánh xèo (rất giòn, mỏng và thơm ngon) lại thêm bún mắm Sóc Trăng, bún măng vịt, miến gà, phở đặc biệt, rồi các loại cơm gà chiên dòn, cơm bò lúc lắc, cơm tấm bì sườn chả trứng ( vơi miếng sườn nướng rất mềm và ngon). Sau đó chúng tôi trở lại ăn tối với lẩu canh chua cá chẽm ( tươi sống), Thịt cá kho tộ, gà xào sả ớt( rất đậm đà hương vị Việt Nam), còn thêm cả rau muống xào tỏi, mực rang muối tiêu….Nơi đây quý vị ăn chay có cả một thực đơn ăn chay với đầy đủ Phở chay, Hủ tiếu, Bún bò Huế, bún mắm chay,….Đây là phần điểm sơ qua các món ăn ngon của nhà hàng Thanh Nga Nine để quý vị đến Úc Đại Lợi có một khái niệm trước mà không mất thời gian khi chọn món ăn. Nhà hàng cũng được trang trí màu sắc rất hài hòa, trang nhã, điểm đáng khen ngợi là sạch sẽ. Không khí trong nhà hàng luôn rộn rã, nhộn nhịp nhờ những câu chuyện với khách rất chân tình, nụ cười luôn thường trực trên môi của cô chủ tên Nga.
    Rời Úc Đại Lợi, trở lại quê nhà chúng tôi vẫn còn mang một ấn tượng đẹp nơi xứ lạ, đất khách lại có một nhà hàng ăn ngon với chủ nhân thân thiện với thực khách khi thấy đồng hương đến từ phương xa. Chúng tôi không quên sự tiếp đón của cô Nga và chồng cô là anh Tỹ-cũng là chủ nhân nhà hàng- Xin ghé thăm nhà hàng Thanh Nga Nine ở tiểu bang Melbourne nếu quý vị có dịp công du đến Úc Đại Lợi!
    --Người phương xa--