Finally I get to catch up on my reviews, now the Sydney Film Festival is over and we are mostly caught up on movie reviews it is time for some more loving and attention to Spooning Australia. I am continuing on with my next meal in my last trip to the ruling section of the Nation. The place that houses all those evil conniving backstabbing fucktards we call politicians, Canberra. Enough with politicians, we want to make you hungry, not puke. I came across Bistro Nguyen’s purely by accident. I made a list of the restaurants I wanted to review in Canberra and this wasn’t on it. There was a place a few doors up I was keen to try, Zomato (old Urbanspoon) said it was open at the time but alas it was not, I kept walking up and down the street trying to find it, the numbers were all off and I could not locate the numbers at all. But I walked past Bistro Nguyen’s about ten times and it was packed and looked fantastic.
My issue was I had a huge Vietnamese lunch and was not keen on doubling up my Vietnamese meals – but in the end I was so over hunting down this other restaurant (I am not naming it as will be visiting on my next trip) that I caved and got a seat. You know it is going to be good when the place is brimming with people on a Tuesday night. It is located smack bang in the middle of Civic on the main drag pointing towards the house of idiots. For the address and a map click on the Zomato box at the bottom.
I managed to get a table and only wanted something fairly small. So I settled on Honey Sweet Potato for an entree $5, then one of my fave dishes in Canberra so far, Traditional Viernamese stewed pork belly with egg $18.50 and I needed a 333 Beer 🙂
After ordering I sat there snuggling my 333 and pondering how lucky I was to find this place, any restaurant that has an entire shelf of Sriracha is a winner already in my books. The place is very modern and funky in its design with wall murals, kitsch but interesting display corners, scooter in the entrance and giant traditional bonsai and other items of luck and auspiciousness. People were coming and going and the place had a quick and efficient turn over, militant but friendly service and these people had someone in a seat before it cooled form the last patron sitting in it. I loved it, great atmosphere and the food was looking awesome. My only gripe was the close quarters sitting, the lovely lesbian couple next to me were quietly spoken but I felt like family as they were leaving, I knew a lot of their intimate deets and where they were going to do what :).
The food was delightful, I wish I was there for more nights or with more people so I could have sampled more. It had a definite street food vibe to it and those honey sweet potatoes would have also made a great dessert, nice and sweet and perfect with my beer, “I think I will have another young man!” The pork stew is amazing, I want to learn how to make it, it had to have been a simple dish but was bursting with flavours. The pork was like chewing on butter, it just melted in my mouth. I think the lesbians thought I was orgasming under the table, damn close, there were multiple foodgasms. This dish will become my Canberra comfort food.
I am going to try and cook the pork stew in a few weeks, from what I can find online it is simply pork belly braised in coconut water with garlic and fish sauce, variations seem to also add dark soy, ginger and spring onions. And some recipes braise it in coconut milk. I am salivating just writing this :). The boiled eggs are a genius addition and I can see this being made for the poorer folk with the cheapest cuts of meat. Perfect for me haha.
I may add to this article after my next visit but for now, after two dishes and a visit under my belt, the place has a great vibe, feels comfortable and suited single people travelers, like me, couples, like the lesbians and entire families sitting in front of me. It is bright, funky and the staff were great – also a bonus the meals are damn cheap!
Have you been? What did you think?
If you haven’t been – put it on your list!