Friday, February 21, 2014

Twee's Hut (by invitation), Melbourne CBD by Bureaucrat

When it comes to Vietnamese food, you've got lots of options for authentic pho, bun, banh mi and rice paper rolls out in the suburbs - Footscray, Richmond and even maybe Springvale.  However, it's bit difficult trying to find proper Vietnamese eatery in the city.  Sure, there's a couple of Vietnamese franchises and there's one too many tourist trap Vietnamese eateries, but there's nowhere where that's known for authentic and good Vietnamese food.

One more than one occasion, this has proved bothersome - I've asked other foodies, colleagues and friends as to where they go when they get a Vietnamese craving when in the city.  To date, no on has an answer (except for, "do you want to head out to Richmond?").  However, this problem is no more!  I now have an answer to this question, and the answer is "go to Twee's Hut!"

Earlier this week, Ruby Grapefruit and I were invited to try out Twee's Hut for lunch.  Ruby Grapefruit had spotted the place recently and said that it was getting pretty good reviews online.  We were well looked after by owners (husband and wife team) Ricky and Thuy (Twee), and also Jimmy, who's Ricky's cousin - it's fair to say that this is family run restaurant!  You can't help but get swept up into their enthusiasm for their food and their eagerness to share with you their family recipes.  As the lunch crowd came through, Jimmy and Ricky made everyone feel welcomed and took them through their menu.

There's quite a range on offer.  From rice paper rolls (aka "grenades"), banh mi ("Captain Baguettes"), pho (also available in 'on-the-go' smaller serves in cups) and buns (aka "the bomb" - vermicelli noodle salads).  Of most interest to me was also Mama Spicy Beef (bun bo hue) soup noodles and Twee's Soul Bowl, as the bun bo hue is not usually found at Vietnamese eateries in the city and the Soul Bowl is definitely something that I hadn't come across before (more on that later).

For drinks, Ruby Grapefruit got an Island Kiss, which is a freshly squeezed juice of pineapple, orange an apple.  She said it was very good and not too sweet.  In addition to the strong sense of family vibe, Twee's Hut also has a strong community spirit by giving back tot the community.  For every freshly squeezed juice that's purchased, Twee's Hut makes a donation to the Cancer Council.  

When Jimmy told us about Twee's Soul Bowl, I knew I just had to try it.  The Soul Bowl is their take on the Thai dish, pad Thai.  As Ruby Grapefruit and I were sharing, we opted to go for the dry version (it also comes in soup).  It has pork, prawn, quail's egg, egg noodles, thick chewyish rice noodles (Cambodian style), shredded lettuce, fried shallots, beanshoots, peanuts, spring onions and coriander.  This was a fairly generous sized dish.  It has a sweet-ish sauce (perhaps made with hoisin sauce?) that's drizzled over the noodles, which you need to toss through.  I quite liked it and I particularly liked that it wasn't over-sauced.  I liked the two different chewy textures of the egg and rice noodles, however, Ruby Grapefruit thought the egg noodle was a tad stodgy for her liking.

The noodles came with a bowl of clear, flavoursome broth.  Very homestyle in flavour and style - yum!

For our other dish, Ruby Grapefruit picked one of the banh mi - the crackling roast pork.  Ruby Grapefruit thought it was really good – tender roast pork, crunchy crackling, fresh salad and the caramelized onion was a nice touch. I liked that it had a nice filling-to-bread ratio and also a nice pork-to-salad ratio.  I particularly liked the very morish pate that's smeared on the bread.  The bread was fresh and crunchy, and it was a good serving size.  

Food – 8
Ambiance - 7
Service – 9*
Price - 8*
*Scores are notional as were guests of Twee's Hut.

Based on what we've tried, I'm definitely going back to try out the "bombs", pho and, when Big Fil is back, the Mama Spicy Beef noodles.  And I'm definitely going back for more of the Soul Bowl. Office workers rejoice - you now know where to go for an authentic Vietnamese lunch!

Twee's Hut
Shop 26, 343 Little Collins St 
Melbourne 3000
Telephone: 9917 2017

Twee's Hut on Urbanspoon


Felicia said...

Thanks for sharing another authentic vietnamese place in the CBD. I usually go to Pho Dzung at Russell Street and its really good too, definitely no tourist there, haha. You should try it!

Bureaucrat said...

Thanks Felicia for your feedback and tip. I don't think I've ever wandered up to Russell St for pho - so I'll keep my eye out for it now :)

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