I’ve been to Vietnam and it’s great to travel throughout the country and try truly authentic Vietnamese food but believe me it’s better in Australia. The portion sizes, flavour and the quality of the beef Phở here trumps, but be sure to eat it at ‘authentic’ Phở restaurants, like here at Madame Nhu Surry Hills.
There is already a Madame Nhu located in The Galeries that is very popular with Sydneysiders, the difference between the two restaurants is that the more recently opened one in Surry Hills is open everyday for dinner until 10pm and the menu also differs slightly. Decor is modern and ambience is relaxed, lighting is low and dimly lit with tea-light candles giving off a romantic low-key vibe.
Ash and I thought the name of the restaurant was a bit offensive, Madame Nhu was considered the ultimate ‘Dragon Lady’ and not in any way likeable. (Read more about her here). Setting aside historical misgivings, we dined on opening night where all main meals were $5 and cocktails were half-price. Our waitress Linda – hey there if you’re reading this, coaxes me into trying a cocktail.
Lychee syrup, muddled limes, mint and detectable alcohol make this luscious Asian-inspired cocktail a winner.
The beef broth is both comfortingly aromatic and fragrant in herbs, spices and beef stock. If I could wear this I would bottle it up in perfume because to me Phở stock smells amazing. (Is it just me who else finds the smell of beef noodle soup sexy? I’m afraid so…) Beef brisket cooked in beef stock results in soft, unctuous pieces of goodness, I believe good authentic Phở requires raw onions and a small amount of them thinly sliced doesn’t interfere with slurping up this perfect-for-a-wintry day soup with silky rice noodles.
It seems like these days every cuisine has their own take on the famous Kentucky Fried Chicken. Here they make MFC or Madame’s Fried Chicken, I can confidently say that it fares much better than KFC. Madame’s Fried Chicken offers morsels of moist, juicy chicken and lovely, crunchy deep-fried batter with a tossing of freshly cut coriander and green onions and a salty, sweet, fishy nuoc cham dipping sauce.
Fall apart chicken meat in a deeply chicken and soy flavoured broth, served on the tasty bone. I wouldn’t consider this caramelised as that would mean it were cooked until sugars or natural sugars burn and caramelise. It’s delicious but we’re still thinking of revisiting some MFC perhaps.
Delectable BBQ duck, fresh herbs, crunchy cabbage, tangy pickled lotus stems contrasting with the chilli vinaigrette completes this Vietnamese duck salad wonderfully.
It also happened to be during Christmas when we ventured out, St Mary’s Cathedral put on a light show for the jolly season, check out these cool shots Ash took.
Bonus material: While at Starbucks (corner of Elizabeth and Park Street) after dinner, Ash filmed a girl throwing up spectacularly out of a car. Unfortunately we only captured the final bouts ‘hurlage’, nonetheless, enjoy! “Hey are those guys filming m- BLEEEEURGH!”
Lunch Mon-Sat: 11am to 3pm
Dinner open 7 days: 5pm to 10pm