When I first found out that Viet Menu was located inside the food court at Colonnades Shopping Centre, I was probably a bit skeptical as to how good this place could be. There’s a common perception that food from a food court is of average quality at best, and I must admit, I’ve had a few dodgy meals in my time. Anyway, you really can’t judge a place until you’ve actually tried it for yourself. Adelaide Food Central was invited to sample some of the dishes at Viet Menu. All food and drink were provided free of charge.
Upon my visit to Viet Menu, I was greeted by the owners who were happy to tell me about the store. It was bright, shiny, clean, and well presented, just like all new stores really. I thought their logo was well designed, and their glossy menu was a reflection on their attention to detail. There are over 30 items on their menu which are made fresh upon ordering. Typical street food items such as meat rolls and noodle bowls are covered, but they also have your more traditional dishes such as beef noodle soups, rice dishes, stir fried noodles and rice noodle dishes. It’s more like a cafe then what you would expect from a food court.
To start off with, I had the Chicken Satay Skewers which came with a satay dipping sauce. The chicken was fried to a light golden brown and the meat was juicy and succulent. The satay sauce had a lovely thick consistency which allows it easily stick to the chicken.
The Spring Rolls were nice and crunchy, and the well seasoned filling was soft and moist. The accompanying sweet chilli dipping sauce was a perfect match for the spring rolls.
The Prawn Cold Rolls were of a generous size. Filled with vermicelli noodles, Asian herbs and prawn slices, these were the more attractive version of what I make at home. The hoisin dipping sauce contained crunchy peanuts and fresh chilli, which was a perfect blend of sweet and spiciness.
Of course, I can’t go to a Vietnamese eatery without having a meat roll if they’re available. On this occasion, I ordered the Combination Meat Roll. Made on the spot, I was glad to see them spreading layers of egg mayonnaise and pate. It was then packed with generous amounts of chargrilled chicken, pork meatballs and roast pork. The pickled carrot and daikon were sweet and tangy, and the cucumber added a nice crunchy texture. The coriander was fresh and the fresh chilli added excitement with every bite. The roll was nice and crusty, which is just the way it should be. This Vietnamese meat roll had everything but the kitchen sink!
The Crispy Chicken Rice consisted of a marinated chicken thigh that was chopped up into thin portions. The skin was nice and crispy, and the chicken was really juicy. I could detect subtle hints of satay in the marinade which made it even better.
Last but not least was the Beef Noodle Soup. Arriving at my table piping hot, the top surface of the dish was clear of fat globules. One sip of the broth indicated that it was well seasoned and full of beefy flavours. The fresh noodles were firm and well cooked, while the beef slices and meatballs were of a good quality. All the Asian herbs were already added so there was little more to do.
During my visit to Viet Menu, I couldn’t help notice the hoards of people lining up to get their fix of Vietnamese cuisine. I believe it’s a testament to the quality of their dishes. There was even one couple that eat here every single day. With over 30 dishes on offer, customers have a lot to choose from and the most expensive dish is $14, which makes everything affordable. Add the fast, friendly and efficient service, and this place is a real winner.
Look past the fact that it is a food court and let the food speak for itself. It has certainly changed my perception.
WHERE: Shop 107, Noarlunga Centre