248 Hampshire Rd, Sunshine. Phone: 9077 0502
The new Phu Vinh in Sunshine is not the sister restaurant of the operation of the same name in Footscray – it’s the daughter restaurant.
The friendly woman who takes our money and asks about how we enjoyed our meal as we depart tells us the Footscray “branch” is run by her parents.
The Sunshine venture, which opened just before Christmas, shares an almost identical menu boasting of its hu tieu specialisation, has the same semi-chic decor and vibe, and is tops in terms of kid-friendliness.
We’re happy to note that even on the stroke of a Monday noon that the place is quite busy – seems like Phu Vinh Sunshine has found its place in an intense Viet environment very quickly.
The service we receive is very attentive and prices for most noodle and rice dishes $10-12.
We keep it simple and order what I suspect are two of the most popular items on the menu.
My pork and prawn rice noodle soup (hu tieu tom thit hoac mi tom thit, $10) has pork three different ways – hey, doesn’t that sound like the sort of thing they say in fancy high-falutin’ fine-dining places?
There’s thinly sliced pork, darker meat in thicker slices and chunks, and pork mince.
Sadly, my lunch offers up just a single medium-sized but tasty prawn.
I’m later told this is standard, but if I ever want an extra house-made prawn cracker to go on top there’ll be no charge.
Prawn issues aside, it’s a fine lunch, the slithery noodles, varied greenery and fresh, clear broth singing in harmony with the added chilli slices and lemon juice.
Bennie could not be happier with his “AWSM” vermicelli with shredded pork skin and spring rolls (ban bi cha gio, $10).
He cleans the bowl out and barely says a word as he eats.
Very unusual, that!
“Everything was good about it,” he tells as he peers over my shoulder as I write.
(I’m working on getting him in the blogging spirit of being a bit more specific in his foodie reflections …)
As we return to our car, we are delighted to see our story on Dragon Express posted prominently in that fine establishment’s widow: