Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Bau Truong Marrickville

Bau Truong
185 Marrickville Road
NSW 2204
Ph : (02) 9569 4938

“Where did you hear about us?”

Bau Truong had only been open a few weeks, and we were here with Carrie. I’d actually read about this latest offshoot at Sydney blog Noodlies during my search for a Vietnamese restaurant to which to take her.

The Marrickville Bau Truong is all shiny surfaces and modern, with bold blue and red a dominating colour theme. Split between two levels (the bathrooms are on the upper level), there is an attractive semi-private area at the top for small groups.

There were three of us, and we were fairly hungry. The sheer size of the menu, which comes in three physical menus, will be daunting for those who have difficulties dealing with too much choice. We eventually narrowed it down to ten items.

BBQ Pork on Crackers ($10)

Marinated, with peanuts and shallots, with some rice noodles. Enjoyable, but the rice crackers had started to go a little soft in the middle.

Vietnamese Pancake ($15)

Bahn Xeo is not just one of my favourite Vietnamese dishes, but one of my favourite dishes, period. There’s just something marvellous about a large crunchy rice flour pancake bursting with filling. To skimp on the filling is a regrettable thing, and takes away much of the enjoyment. This one was passable in this regard and in terms of taste, but a greater generosity of meat, prawns and sprouts would have turned it into one that I’d travel back there to eat.

Beef Betel Leaf Rolls ($12)

I hadn’t read this carefully, somehow skipping the “roll” bit. I’d seen the betel leaf reference and not paid much attention to the rest, thinking that it would be beef served in betel leaves. I can’t describe these in any way other than to say that they were pleasant enough, and like small meatballs/ kefte.

Banana Blossom Salad ($15)

Banana blossom was chosen mainly because Carrie had never eaten it. Apparently some folks don't like the taste of banana blossom, but for me, it's more about the texture and whatever else accompanies it, as well as the dressing. Prawns, onions, cashews, mint…it was refreshing, and the dressing slightly (and nicely) tart.

Basil Pipi Soup ($12)

Rather absentmindedly, I seem to have forgotten to take a photo of the fishcake soup ($12).

I didn’t order a soup, but the others did, and these were arguably the hit of the evening, particularly the Basil one, which was wildly fragrant. We were told that the recipe for the Pipi soup was tweaked and perfected over a period of some 18 months. Both soups were clear, cleansing, and good enough for both of them to declare that they would return for these soups alone.

Satay Beef ($22)

For me, at least, this was the disappointment of the night. I’ll leave it at that.

Fresh Shiitake in Oyster Sauce ($15)

The desserts sounded interesting, so even though we had been unable to finish all of the other dishes, we decided to order two.

Baked Egg Custard ($12)

Banana Pudding with sticky rice ice cream ($12)

Our responses diverged the most with these two desserts. Whilst we agreed that the banana pudding could have been improved by being served warm, I enjoyed the red rice ice cream, whilst someone else didn’t, preferring a smoother textured ice cream to one with the presence of starchy grains.

I haven’t eaten at any of the other Bau Truong restaurants, but a good friend is a fan of one of them. Did I recommend Marrickville to him after my visit? Yes. It’s a comfortable restaurant, the service warm and friendly. Not all the dishes we ordered were a hit, but this is a large menu, and with the successful pedigree that it has behind it, it is bound to be popular addition to the inner west.


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