La Chanh, Melbourne 12-2021

Coming back to Victoria Street after a long absence, there's a noticeable reduction in Vietnamese restaurants. Some of the old ones have turned over, some are vacant and advertising for new owners, and of course some are still there with variable numbers of patrons. The long stayers have tended to be around the Nicholson Street area, maybe because it's the most frequented by foot traffic and closer to the main tramstops, train station and shopping complex. However the shops toward Church Street have (in my mind at least) always seemed a little bit nicer and newer? Additionally the central ones between Nicholson Street and the train station are (for better or worse) more full with non-Vietnamese people, whatever that implies.

Up toward Church are some new Vietnamese places. On this random December Tuesday, there were a few places open. Co Thu Quan which is supposedly Vietnamese street food was doing a good trade and a table for us would be about 20-30mins away. So we wandered onto the next one, which was the fancier named La Chanh (for some reason it sounded a bit more French to me).

Inside is a pretty standard restaurant, and the host lady was single-handedly managing the entire floor. It was unexpectedly busy for her so she apologised for the food taking a little while. But it was worth the wait.

The beef of bo luc lac with tomato rice $17.5 was sweeter than I'm used to but my favourite version so far. The meat was tender and lovely. Mekong prawn noodle soup $15 was also good and a more unusual dish to find. It had a clean soup boosted by the hot mint. Unfortunately the interesting sounding pho satay is no longer on the menu. 3 colour drink is also an exceptional version with high quality ingredients and ice shaved well rather than chunky bits.

We went again a couple of weeks later. Due to an unexpected busy day time, they had run out of pho and che. The bun thit nuong cha gio had delicious grilled pork and the nuoc mam was well balanced. Fish sauce chicken wings were expertly fried and coated in a sweet savoury sauce.

My favourite (granted the only one I've tried recently other than bun bo hue at Co Do) Vietnamese restaurant around.

La Chanh Menu Reviews Photos Location and Info - Zomato