Thanh Phong on Victoria Street is one of the many Vietnamese restaurants in Richmond. It’s one of the more cleaner venues around these parts. They must have renovated maybe in the past couple of years or so. During lunchtime weekdays, I wouldn’t call this place busy but it has a decent following. I wouldn’t say the food here sets it apart from the other Vietnamese eateries in anyway. It serves mostly the same cuisine you’d find elsewhere.
Pictured above, is their Cambodian Dry Noodle Soup (Alt: Hu Tieu Nam Vang), it comes with this crispy pastry which I believe is filled with some sort of vegetable, along with warm seasoned noodles with bean shoots, chicken, celery and fried and spring onions and coriander as their garnishes. It is served with soup with seafood and spring onions and coriander on top. Let’s start with the soup, it’s your very typical Vietnamese soup. Seasoned well, so it is certainly bursting with flavour and the prawn, fish ball and calamari. The seafood is a pleasant surprise and although tough calamari isn’t usually my thing, it complements the noodles well.
The pastry is nice and crunchy, but with enough bite to it (it has some chewiness to it). I really did enjoy the dressing or seasoning they add to the noodles but I can’t really put my finger on what they add to it. Probably a bit of soy, and it’s has a tongue tingling spiciness to it. It’s a very crunchy dish overall because of the celery, pastry and bean sprouts. Quite a lovely, tasty and fresh dish.
Their Broken Rice with Egg and Pate, is a tad disappointing though. Clumpy wet rice isn’t at all appetising. Although Thanh Phong’s Spicy Beef Noodle Soup is both spicy and delicious. Similar to Pho, but a red tinged colour and wonderfully beefy in taste.
Thanh Phong, probably isn’t for everyone. There are a few dishes you could probably find better places to order like Pho (I Love Pho) but their Cambodian noodles are the best I’ve had on Victoria Street. It is just sifting through their menu to find the gems, like you may do with many other restaurants.
Not my first place I think of when I want Vietnamese but not so far down on my list. I’d say give it a go.
240 Victoria St
Richmond VIC 3121
Mekong is a Vietnamese restaurant located on Swanston Street, Melbourne and I’ve walked by it countless of times but never really have the urge to venture in. For one, the place looks like it hasn’t been renovated or cleaned in at least 10 years and many years back they voluntarily closed for pest control. My relatives came down for a visit and they like this kind of food so we thought there shouldn’t be any harm in dining there and it seems quite popular so it must be good?
My impressions of the place were already at an all time low, and getting seated you can see that cleanliness is not their priority. Tables and floors all have food scraps around. The supposedly clean tea cups still have food remnants on them. I don’t think I’m an utter clean freak or anything, but I do like to dine at places that at least feel clean.
Well I guess people come here for food so let’s talk about that. To go to a restaurant with the word Pho in it and not try their Pho seems blasphemous. So I opted for the Small Pho with Chicken, and I think it was reasonable. The soup wasn’t fantastic by any means, that feat goes to I Love Pho on Victoria St, Richmond and Pho Hung Vuong, Springvale but respectable. It lacks that same punch you get from the others, probably MSG but flavour is lacking.
Everything else is pretty much standard, it’s a nice cheapish meal but my OCD with cleanliness probably got in the way with actually enjoying the meal.
Pho Bo Ga Mekong Vietnam
241 Swanston St
Melbourne VIC 3000
I Love Pho is located in the heart of the Richmond-Vietnamese community. On Victoria St, I Love Pho is a popular destination to order some delicious Pho. It appears it only does indeed serve Pho, but please correct me if I’m wrong.
At I Love Pho, there are many different types of ingredients you can add to your Pho. I ordered the Chicken and Beef Combination, but you can order tofu and vegies, a special beef combination with extras or simply just beef or chicken. All for a considerably decent price range. You can check out the menu here
During lunch hours, the service appears average at best, though, it depends on how you look at it. You order and get served very quickly, but it’s mostly a rushed environment to get as many people in and out as they can.
Onto the Pho that I did try, the beef was quite nice and seasoned and still slightly rare which makes it all the better, as the very popular restaurant in Springvale well known for their Pho has chewy and tough beef. The chicken was also soft and moist and not dry at all so it was a pleasant surprise.
The soup is what I guess most people enjoy, and I Love Pho’s soup is very good. It has a great flavour to it, but it isn’t too strong. For some it may be slightly ‘watery’ but I enjoyed it and after finishing my Pho (almost finishing anyway), I was extremely full and satisfied.
I Love Pho knows what it does best, it hardly needs to change a thing as people arrive in droves. You can see why it is so popular on Victoria St, and a favourite of many as well.
264 Victoria St
Richmond, VIC 3121
(03) 9427 7749