Thursday, March 7, 2013

Sunshine Pho Fever 2013

Tonight I ate dinner for the first time in Sunshine - well three dinners. As part of the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival - Sunshine Pho Fever. I was impressed when the invite came in the mail - complete with lanyards!  The group was split into two - the people with white writing and the people with red writing.  People were a bit confused until they saw what the other group's lanyard looked like :)

Our meeting place was the Granary Cafe in Sunshine with complimentary drinks (which ended up being soft drink and orange juice - so we got ourselves a sparkling Moscato - thanks Alison!!).  Sat out in their courtyard for a bit before we were divided into groups and off we went.

Here we are outside our first stop Sao Cafe.

They even rolled out the red carpet for us (well it was pre-rolled :))

The owner came out and spoke to us, making sure we were excited about trying his unique dish. Got a bit of an explanation of what to do with the bits and pieces in front of us.

They had very fancy looking lights - didn't photograph too well though. But here's part of the group waiting for our dish to come out.

The menu - love the neon lighting :)

One of the organisers of the event (or at least guides!), the owner and the head chef - welcoming us and inviting us to come back and enjoy a 20% discount.  Even though the meals were so cheap anyway.

And here's our dish - it was a spicy beef stew dish (no noodles) - seriously yummy!! Was just like a beef stew with awesome variety of spice and herbs.  Came with carrots and tripe, and a really tasty roll.  You apparently squeeze a bit of lemon into the Pho, add the chilli and dip the beef into the salt stuff.  This would be great on a really cold day. Bargain at its normal price of $11.  This dish was unexpected but very tasty.  Main thing being our tender the beef was has it had been left to cook for a long time.

Our next stop was Phu Vinh.  This place thankfully had airconditioning (much needed on a 33 degree day). The decor seemed a bit fancier too. The flavour of this place I think was from Southern Vietnam

We got to start off with a chicken salad, on top of what seemed like a prawn cracker type thing.  Had a nice tang to it.

Here's the restaurants promo picture.  Was interesting that they had laid out photos of their food along the table to entice us back. I think it was one of the owners who chatted to us about the Pho and how they do not keep their stock past 24 hours, and I think spend 6 hours getting their broth just right. I could be mistaken on that though.

Sprouts, Mint and Lime waiting for the Pho - with a dish of hoisin sauce and home made chilli oil.  Again very tasty - and not too spicy.

We met some really interesting people throughout the night.  This guy was from Perth and his partner Minnesota.  Both foodies - but missed out on hearing what their picks were.  Hopefully they go check out the Ribs places I mentioned :)

And here is the combination (beef and chicken) Pho.  I really enjoyed this dish. The broth was super tasty.

A bit of a closer look.

Our third stop of the evening - Pho Hien. I think everyone was pretty much full by this stage :(

Here's the promo pic.  They specialise in Pho as opposed to offering a large variety of dishes.  I think they still had vermicelli type dishes on the menu under the Phos though.

The owner was giving us a bit of an explanation. Unfortunately bit hard to hear with the other noisy people in the restaurant.

The interior of the restaurant - and the lovely couple that took a photo of us :)

And here is the chicken Pho. With the usual suspects, and some pickled onion - super tasty!!

This is my pho with the additions :)  I think I preferred the chicken from the second place - but this was still really tasty.  They also had home made chilli oil on offer - but I found this Pho a lot spicier than the last one.  I added a couple of chillis but not more than normal.

Here's Alison & I Pho-ing it up :)

This time we got a drink - this was Alison's.  Apparently was like an iced tea with lots of sugar, with some noodle things and fruit things.  A lot of people who tried it found it too sweet.

I got the three colour drink with I think red bean, green jelly, maybe red jelly?? and coconut milk and ice.  I really enjoyed the strong coconut flavour of this drink when mixed up - but wasn't too sold on the green noodley things.  Made the drink a bit chewy :)  Still a nice way to finish off the evening.

One lucky person got a lucky draw prize! It was a steamer.

With lots of chopsticks (thanks for giving away some of the chopsticks)

Some lotus tea, and I think she said almond cookies - but some kind of biscuit I'm sure.

No need to be sad though because we all get a bag to take home - with our own bowl and chopsticks.  Win!

Great night - I think I'm set to explode now :)

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