On my first visit here shortly after they opened last year, I was of the view this was the best Vietnamese restaurant I have encountered in Northbridge – two more trips have done nothing to dampen that view – and a recent birthday dinner just confirmed this. It really is outstanding – from the moment you walk in the décor catches the eye and once you try the food you are hooked. And the wonderful waiters add to the appeal.
You should note, however, that despite the illusion set by displayed spirit and wine bottles, they are unlicensed; BYO is fine and they do supply very good stemware and ice buckets. So all to the good.
The menu is fairly extensive with a plenty of choices of chicken, seafood, pork, vegetarian, beef, as well as soups, noodle dishes and salads. As with most Asian restaurants, the food is designed to share and that is what we did.
Starting with a couple of entrées – crumbed seafood spring rolls were crisply fried with moist seafood filling – these came with a dipping sauce more along the lines of aioli than traditional Vietnamese style, but enjoyable nonetheless.
Then slices of roast duck, pink and juicy, sitting on sticky rice cakes – great flavour and textural contrast. Very good starter, indeed.
To the mains – and we went for the prawns served in a bamboo tube – something I have had on each visit – and again simply delightful. Eight large prawns, char grilled in their shells hanging by their tails from a bamboo tube – the prawns were juicy, tender, beautifully cooked and seasoned, with a lovely smoky, barbeque flavour and the mix of green chilli, garlic and lemon was absolutely on song.
Next along plump, succulent, perfectly cooked scallops stir fried with spring onion and crunchy lightly cooked, fresh asparagus – delicate flavours, beautifully balanced, it was another excellent dish.
Finally, Hanoi fish – grilled fillets of fish, luscious and tender, aromatic and gently spiced – crisp fresh herbs scattered across, smoky notes to the fish – a wonderful combination of flavours and intense bouquet.
Once again I came away very impressed by the calibre of the food at Chopsticks – it is special. Everything jells for a great experience – ambience, décor, staff, food, presentation, value for money.