Sometimes in life the best experiences come from spontaneity. That’s exactly what happened last week when we ate at a new Vietnamese restaurant in Redfern.
The night started at the Sydney Night Noodle Markets with my boyfriend Haydn and his friend. Given the enormous lines and crowds at Hyde Park we decided to ditch the Noodle Markets and join some other friends for dinner.
We arrive at Mai Viet, a small, freshly renovated restaurant on Cleveland St. It’s BYO and conveniently there’s a bottle shop just across the road.
We duck out to pick up some wine and leave the others to order (turns out one of our friend’s family owns the restaurant so they know exactly what to select).
When we get back there are already a range of entrees waiting for us and they look so good! The spring rolls are crispy and bursting with delicious pork and vegetables. They are served with a side salad of lettuce and pickled vegetables.
The chicken wings are served on a bed of fresh salad and also look amazing! They are deep fried “Vietnamese style” with a spicy flavour. The chicken’s crispy skin is seriously impressive and I loved the Vietnamese sauce and shallots on top.
I was so glad to see the larger serves of crispy chicken come to our table as I just couldn’t get enough of the wings. Again the chicken skin is incredibly crispy. This one isn’t topped with the spicy sauce but does have a side of sweet chilli dressing.
For mains we are in for a treat. As the plates of crispy meats, small bowls of soup and different types of noodles keep coming our way, we end up with a full table spread of bright, authentic Vietnamese food.
The side soup is hearty, full of flavour. It’s is served with two quail eggs in and topped with shallots.
There are a couple of large bowls of vermicelli noodle salads on our table – I have never seen such fresh looking vermicelli noodles.
We also enjoy a beautiful crispy pork vermicelli noodle salad with spring rolls – another very impressive dish. Everything is cooked perfect and with so many great flavours.
One of the things I loved most about the Mai Viet food is that they aren’t too heavy on dressings – they let the beautiful flavours of their fresh produce shine.
Speaking of dressings, when a big bowl of Vietnamese Beef and vegetable stew arrives at the table the wait staff also sit a small ramekin of salt and pepper in front of us. They hand us some fresh lemon wedges and explain in Vietnam squeezing lemon and mixing it in the salt and pepper is a common dressing to use on meat. We dip the beef in the dressing and oh my – what a great combo!
As you can see in the pictures the serving sizes are very generous at Mai Viet and with such beautiful food we couldn’t help but keep eating. Although very full we couldn’t go past the authentic Vietnamese $1 desserts.
Topped with coconut cream and sesame seeds the banana slice was sweet and very tasty! This would not be an easy dessert to make with so many intricate layers and different textures – I will have to quiz them next time!!
We also try the sticky rice bowl with beans. This was a wonderful dessert ! If you enjoy sticky rice you must try this dessert!
As I left Mai Viet I was so delighted – there’s nothing quite like that feeling of stumbling upon a great new restaurant unexpectedly. To think I drive past Mai Viet every day and have never thought to walk in but now it’s definitely a new favourite for Vietnamese.
If you are looking for a fresh, healthy and authentic Vietnamese food in Sydney, this is definitely the place for you!
The final say
Great fresh and authentic Vietnamese food and great value (particularly the $1 desserts)
Standout dish – Crispy chicken wings and the desserts
Opening hours – Open Tuesday to Saturday
Address – 279 Cleveland St Redfern