Thursday, August 12, 2010

Ha Long Bay, Richmond by Big Fil

Ha Long Bay is one of the strip of Asian restaurants lining Victoria Street Richmond. We were actually planning on trying somewhere else but the number of restaurants closed on a Monday night limited our options. That Ha Long Bay was open, looked warm on a cold night and had some empty tables made up our minds about where we were eating.

On the inside it is a big barn of a place, with pictures of tranquil Vietnamese pastoral scenes on the wall. The large menu was the usual mix of Chinese and Vietnamese dishes, probably leaning more towards what I'd associate with Chinese.

We ordered two entrees to start, the pork spring rolls and the prawn rice paper rolls. The spring rolls were the better of the two, with the lettuce used as wrapping providing a contrast to the crispy spring rolls.

The rice paper rolls were large with a crunchy filling but very stingy with the prawns, with only one medium sized prawn sliced in two per roll.

The best dish was the rare beef coleslaw. The salad was pleasant and refreshing with citrus undertones. The beef was moist but not really rare, with not a spot of pink to be seen, but still tender enough that this wasn't an issue. A nice dish that I'd happily have again.

The prawns with lemongrass and chilli was also good. Compared to the rice paper rolls the amount of prawns was generous and the vegetables were still crispy. The dish had some chilli but I wouldn't describe it as hot, with the lemongrass adding a tang to the dish.

The other two mains were a slight let down, with nothing really wrong but nothing to distinguish them from typical Melbourne Chinese restaurants. The meat on the crispy skin chicken was a little dry and the skin not as crispy as I would have liked.

The salt and pepper squid could have been more tender (although a long way from being rubbery). Also squid has a subtle taste and I thought the spices were a little overused, masking some of the natural flavour of the squid.

Above average restaurant that was easy to like but I couldn't imagine it becoming a regular favourite. I'd have liked to try the pho and congee, which we didn't order because they would have been difficult to share, and what we did try was good but nothing special. It’s a slightly nicer place to eat than most places along Victoria Street, as you don't feel as if you are always about to bump elbows with your neighbours, but in consequence lacks a bit of atmosphere.

Food - 7
Price - 7
Ambience - 6.5
Service - 6.5

82 Victoria Street
Richmond VIC 3121
Tel: (03) 9429 3268

Ha Long Bay on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

Bureaucrat said...

ooh, i LOVE ha long bay. it's one of my favourite restaurants. i miss it so much...the spring rolls, pho, rare beef salad and the vermicelli and pork dish.

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