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Once upon a lab lunch when fellow lab members and I paid Trunk Diner a visit, we had noticed quite a crowd gathered outside Miss Chu waiting for a table. My curiosity piqued, the restaurant was placed on my growing to-visit list. It sat on this list for a while but Susper and I finally managed to squeeze in a visit.
We arrived at around 6.30pm and to our relief, there were a few tables that were still vacant. This was not the case 30 minutes later and the restaurant just seemed to get busier as the night progressed.
The cosy space possessed a lively atmosphere, and funky decor items were plentiful. Their glowing SHUTTLECOCK lights outside the restaurant were noticeable from afar and lured in dining patrons like moths to a light. The funkiness did not stop at the restaurant’s exterior, with items like crate seats and hanging teapots being some of the key components that added to the creative styling of the interior.
Very convenient for both take-away and dine-in options. It also means you can take your time with the menu and not feel pressured by a waiter/waitress who would otherwise keep checking up on you.
Free range egg omelette, avocado & balsamic caramelised onion rice paper roll.
The egg and avocado combination was not something that either of us had heard of before and its uniqueness caught our attention, compelling us to order it. The egg flavour was very subtle and the soft fluffiness of the omelette blended in with the butter-like texture of the avocado. The mint came across quite strong but worked well with the equally strong flavours from the sweet hoisin+sweet chilli sauce. These stronger elements provided much taste to boost the milder flavours from the egg+avocado.
Tiger prawn & green mango rice paper roll.
As with the egg+avo rice paper roll, the key players in the roll were also the mint and sauce. Unlike the other roll however, the prawn and mango flavours were more prominent; the light batter on the prawns provided a gentle crunch while the lingering sourness of the green mango complemented the punchy mint.
Asian vegetables with garlic chives steamed dumplings.
The chewy and gelatinous texture of the translucent dumpling skins was quite distinct but the dumpling filling was otherwise standard. I enjoyed the spiciness but not so much the sourness of the accompanying thick sauce.
Prawn & crab net spring rolls.
Referred to as the ‘Queen of Rice Paper Rolls’, Miss Chu is renown for her… you guessed it, rice paper rolls! But perhaps her title should be changed to ‘Queen of the Spring Rolls’. While the flavours and ingredients of the rice paper rolls were enjoyable, it was the spring rolls that stole the show. The filling was comprised of tender shreds of crab and prawn. Freshly cooked, the net-like batter was crispy and delicate, and its taste reminded me of crumbled prawn crackers. Served like traditional Vietnamese spring rolls, the lettuce added a refreshing ingredient to the balance out with the fried-ness while the sauce tied the two elements together.
Peking duck pancake.
As we had discovered on this occasion: the one thing that makes Peking duck even better is a lightly-fried and crispy pancake!
Vegan sautéed shitake, enoki & shimeji mushrooms salad.
The rice vermicelli salad was quite light and just the thing to order on a warmer day or if you’re someone who was looking for a lighter meal (provided that you don’t go overboard like us and order an additional 5 dishes!). Fans of mushrooms will be pleased with the assortment of tender mushrooms in this dish. The light flavours were spruced up by the dried shallots and light soy sauce in the noodles.
Dessert of the Day - Tapioca pudding with mango.
We almost skipped out on dessert given how full we were feeling at this point but decided to share a ‘Dessert of the Day’. Fortunately for both our stomaches and our taste buds, this mysterious dessert turned out to be a fairly light coconut-y tapioca suspension that was rich with mango flavour throughout. Since it was served in a wine glass, the dessert could probably have been drank straight from the glass!
After just one encounter with the rice paper rolls and spring rolls served at Miss Chu, it wasn’t hard to see why the restaurant commands such a crowd. Although charging an arm and a foot more than the prices you would typically pay for the equivalent back in areas like Springvale or Footscray, they can get away with it thanks to Miss Chu’s modern and tasty take on traditional Vietnamese dishes, the quality of the ingredients used and the wonderful dining ambience supplied by restaurant environment.
297 Exhibition St,
Melbourne, Victoria, 3000.
(03) 9077 1097