Some of the most authentic Vietnamese cuisine is not found in the city centre but out in the western suburbs where the community actually live. A fine example of this is the Bonjour Vietnam restaurant which offers an extensive range of classic homestyle dishes. There are entrees, soups, salads, stir fried dishes, noodle dishes, deep fried dishes and more traditional mains. Adelaide Food Central was invited to sample some of their dishes tonight. All food and drink were provided free of charge.
The outside of the restaurant may not look very inviting, but the inside is a different story. The dining area is open plan and the table cloths give the place a touch of elegance. The highlight for me was the modern bar area which oozes style.
To start off, we had the Vietnamese Salad. The vegetables were fresh and crisp, and smothered in a sweet Asian dressing. Generous amounts of roast pork were sitting on top of the salad. The meat was well marinated, not too fatty and the skin was perfectly crunchy. I’m used to Vietnamese salads with prawn but roast pork is just as good.
The Satay Chicken was a real treat. The thin strips of skewered chicken breast were tender and succulent, and fried to a golden brown. The satay sauce tasted just right and its thick consistency allowed to easily stick to the chicken.
The Spring Rolls were executed perfectly. The spring roll skin was nice and crunchy, and the filling was soft, delicate and well cooked throughout.
The Grilled Porkballs are a personal favourite. Some places put chunks of fat into the porkballs which I find a little off putting. There was none of that in this case. The porkballs were well seasoned, firm and slightly chewy.
The Crab Claws were the real deal. I’ve had this dish at other places and they often combine minced prawn into the mix. With these claws you could actually taste the natural sweetness of the blue swimmer crab meat.
The Grilled Quail was simply amazing! Seasoned with just the right amount of herbs and spices, the quail was perfectly cooked. I could have eaten these all night.
The Sugar Cane Prawn is another Vietnamese classic. Minced prawn meat is seasoned and wrapped around sugar cane sticks. The prawn is then cooked and the juices from the sugar cane are allowed to infuse into the prawn meat. Absolutely delightful!
The Fish in Clay Pot is something I regularly have at home. I often use salmon but in this case, catfish was used. The fish was soft and delicate, and the sweet caramelisation was well infused into the meat. It was fairly close to how I make it.
The Beef in Chinese Broccoli was a tasty stir fry dish. Lean strips of tender beef were cooked in their special Bonjour Vietnam sauce. It starts off sweet but ends up with a spicy kick. It was a dish that I quite enjoyed.
The Tom Yum soup is a dish that most people would be familiar with. Packed to the brim with fresh vegetables and king prawns, this is one hearty soup that you’ll absolutely love. The prawns were juicy and succulent, and the vegetables were nice and crisp. When I make it at home, it’s a little bit more sour, but it really depends on the person as to how you like it.
When it came to dessert time we started off with the Coffee Creme Caramel. The creme caramel was smooth and delicate with the strong flavours of coffee well infused. When I make this dessert at home, I only use caramel, but the inclusion of coffee creates an exciting twist.
Next up was the Mango Pudding. The gelatin was rather firm with inside revealing a chewy piece of mango. It was certainly different to what I’ve had in the past.
The star of the desserts was the Fried Ice Cream. Wrapped around a large scoop of ice cream was a thin layer of sponge cake. Topped with crunchy nuts and swimming in a sea of coconut sauce, this was both delicious and incredibly addictive. The best fried ice cream I’ve ever had!
I must admit I wasn’t sure what to expect when coming here tonight. I’m usually a harsh critic when it comes to Vietnamese food because I grew up with the cuisine and I expect the dishes to taste a certain way. Every dish that we had tonight was fairly spot on. Combine that with the great service and relaxed atmosphere, and we all had a great night.
WHERE: 183B Hanson Rd, Athol Park