On my last weekend of food freedom, I managed to talk my brother and his partner in to not only coming to the Arboretum for breakfast with me, I also talked them in to coming out to dinner with me on the very same night. I’d run out of time and all my friends were fooded out – I really wanted to try the Griffith Vietnamese Restaurant, so they’d have to come with me. Guilt is a wonderful thing.
The Griffith Vietnamese Restaurant is located on the main strip of the Griffith Shops, near Rubicon, and is fronted by large windows. The restaurant is modestly decorated; basic tables and chairs, a kitchen towards the back and a feel that it hasn’t been touched in decades. It’s quite a nice, refreshing change, within Canberra’s trendy restaurant scene but something that I suspect pretty much every local shops contains – it’s old school. There’s a hustle and bustle about this place, lots of take-away orders and the tables are all full – it has a great atmosphere.
The walls of the Griffith Vietnamese Restaurant are lined with notes from past customers, some of import – Diplomats, Ministers, sports people, visitors from other countries – and some just regular customers. It’s cute but more than that it shows off a loyal following and good recommendations from satisfied punters.
We rocked up to the small restaurant around 6:30 on a Saturday night, the place was packed – we quickly realised we’d forgotten to book a table. Thankfully there were only three of us and the lady who greeted us was able to pull together a table right underneath the high takeaway counter. It was a little squishy, and people did loiter around the table a lot, but I was just happy we got a table.
As we perused the menu, I noticed the absence of the more “staple” Vietnamese dishes like Pho – the menu is filled with stir fry and curry dishes. We decided on two entrees and three mains (1 pork, one lamb and one squid), because we were all starving.
The lady came to take our orders and didn’t write anything down, which always makes me terrified – but she got everything spot on! First up we ordered entrees – the crispy chicken wings and spring rolls. They come out quickly, thank god – I was starving.
The spring rolls are crispy and fresh, but filling was a little bit bland and didn’t wow me. In contrast, the chicken wings were awesome – lovely and crispy with a delicious coating/sauce.
We ordered three mains and a side of rice, which all came out about the same time, so we dug right in. My favourite by far was the ‘Sexy Squid’. Sexy, indeed it was.
I really loved this dish. The squid was cooked perfectly, the batter was light and crispy and there was just enough heat and salt to make it faultless. There’s no sauce to speak of, so it is a dry dish (but not dry in the mouth way) and it was served with semi-crunchy vegetables. It was fresh and it was hot and I couldn’t stop eating it!
We decided to order another dish off the restaurant’s “chef’s specials” – the Yummy Lamb.
The yummy lamb came out sizzling! It had a great peppery flavour to it, and the lamb was cooked nicely. This was my least favourite dish of the evening, but really only because I liked the other too so much.
We also ordered a pork dish with lemongrass and peanuts.
I really liked this stir-fried dish too – lots of flavours that balanced well. This dish comes out sizzling too! And as with the other dishes, there are a lot of vegetables and not a huge amount of meat but we manage to eat everything on the plate!
I’m left feeling beyond satisfied with delicious flavours swirling around my mouth.
The staff at the Griffith Vietnamese are all friendly and freakishly efficient. The Chef/Owner Tan came out to talk to us for a little while, and he was so friendly and polite. He even held the door for me on the way out.
Having been lamenting the loss of the Vietnamese restaurant in Erindale for the past few years, I’m happy to have found another place where I can eat this delicious cuisine – it’s not as good as Erindale, sadly, but I still really enjoyed me meal there. It was a fuss free, quick and fulfilling meal and I’ll definitely be back!