Thursday, March 31, 2011

Binh Minh, Richmond by Big Fil

Binh Minh advertises itself as providing Vietnamese, Chinese and Malaysian cuisines. Not necessarily a promising start, as spreading too wide is often the mark of a mediocre restaurant trying to appeal to everyone. You can end up with a series of inauthentic dishes, with the consequence that if you know these cuisines well you are disappointed and if you don't you get a false impression of what they are about. On the other hand, if they taste good and it gets people out trying new and unfamiliar things how much does it matter? With these somewhat contradictory thoughts in mind it was off to try one of the more popular restaurants on Victoria Street.

With its large glass front and handful of Cheap Eats stamps on the door from the outside there isn't much to distinguish Binh Minh from most of the other Victoria Street restaurants. The inside is similar, slightly dark and the tables a little closer together than I'd prefer, but clean and with warm colours.

For me the best two dishes tried here were the two entrees, the prawn spring rolls and the prawn rice paper rolls. Particularly good were the spring rolls, lightly fried with a delicious prawn filling.

The rice paper rolls came with more prawn than usual and the sauce had a good peanutty flavour, even if it was a bit cold from the fridge.

For mains the choice was one Vietnamese, one Chinese and one Malaysian style dish. First off the rank was the Beef salad. This was very citrusy with a hint of chilli and peanuts to add texture. Unfortunately it was a bit unbalanced with the citrus flavours overpowering the beef, which did not have the tinge of pink I like.

Next was the beef rendang with roti. The beef was acceptably tender and comparatively more spicy and less coconutty that somewhere like Nelayan, probably more to Ms Counting her Calories taste than how I prefer it. The roti also was not as stretchy as I like it and I suspect it was store bought. All up, not bad but far from the best example of this dish I've had around Melbourne.

Last main was the salt and pepper squid. This was listed by the door as one of the chef's specialties but I thought it was very similar in standard to the other two mains. The squid was slightly chewy but not too bad. The main problem again was that the sauce and onion were too strong, overpowering the flavour of the squid.

The one adjective which I would use to summarise this restaurant is reasonable. All the food was alright, with the entrees a class above the mains but nothing unacceptable. The seating is probably a bit above average for Victoria Street, the food came out fairly fast and the manager appeared to deal very well with noisy pre-schoolers, showing them his magic tricks. While I certainly wouldn't object to going back I'm not drawn back either, preferring to explore more options in the area.

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

40 Victoria Street
Richmond VIC 3121
Tel: (03) 9421 3802

Binh Minh on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

katy_em said...

love the look of the spring rolls and vietnamese rice paper sooo hungry for lunch

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