Phi Phi has become a firm favourite of ours. Here’s a take on it by CTS contributor Erika Jonsson from the point of view of a family lunch and a belated Fathers Day celebration.
Phi Phi Vietnamese & Chinese Restaurant, 28 Alfrieda Street, St Albans. Phone: 9366 5686
My husband is a proud carnivore.
He’s happy to try the most exotic meat on the menu, the things that I would never be brave enough to order myself but am happy to try if they’re his meals rather than mine.
So I knew what he was going to order the second I saw crocodile on the menu at Phi Phi in St Albans.
We were having a belated Fathers Day lunch with our two sons and I’d given him carte blanche to order what he wanted rather than what the boys would be most likely to share.
We’d already ordered some predictable favourites for them so our mains might actually be for us.
Joe wanted chicken on a stick (satay skewers) and spring rolls, while Hugh was happy munching on prawn crackers and little else.
The chicken was fried in an egg white wash, which made an interesting and pleasant change to the more common grilled skewers.
The spring rolls were run of the mill but certainly tasty enough.
Hubby ordered the crocodile with coconut and curry, while I went with something safe as a contrast – salt and pepper squid.
I should’ve been bolder.
The squid was cooked really nicely but lacked oomph.
The fried chilli, onion, garlic and noodle topping was tasty but I really would have loved a fresh chilli sauce to pour over the top.
Our waitress brought some sweet chilli sauce without prompting and that certainly helped but the zing of something fresh would have made a big difference.
My husband was a man far happier with his decision.
I’m told crocodile can be quite oily or fatty but this was far from it – lean, white meat that seemed perfectly cooked to all of us.
“More croc please, more croc please,” Joe chanted as we ate, helping himself to tasty morsels at will.
Eggplant, okra and vermicelli noodles all worked well with the coconut sauce and the dish was flavoursome withou being overly spicy – no doubt that helped the kids’ enjoyment.
The service was excellent and it was a really great atmosphere for family dining.
I love the fact that kids are not just accepted but welcomed and loved at Vietnamese restaurants.
A high chair made life easy and our meal cost around $55 for three and a half very satiated eaters.
We left almost our whole serve of rice as we just didn’t need it with the mains we had ordered so we’ll learn from that.
We enjoyed our meal but next time I’ll either be more adventurous or trust that my boys will enjoy whatever it is I really want rather than what I think they’ll share.
As it was, neither was interested in the squid and I would have been much happier with a plate of chicken with lemongrass and chilli or a bowl of hot and sour soup.
We’ll definitely return to try some more dishes on the extensive and reasonably priced menu.
See earlier story here.