Phwoar, Phi Yen

October 2, 2009 · 20 comments

I’m lucky enough to have some of Perth’s best Vietnamese (in my humble gaijin (what’s the Vietnamese equivalent of gaijin? (how many brackets within brackets can I have before it gets too confusing?)) opinion) within a short stroll from my doorstep at Phi Yen in Northbridge. My parents are in town this weekend, so I got to share this delicious knowledge with them for lunch today. After a nice walk up Lake Street, admiring the terrace houses and dodging the skip bins and flying brick dust from renovations we arrived and were seated at a table in the middle of the restaurant – perfect for eyeing off everyone else’s dishes and getting enough natural light for my photographs.

The lunch menu is different to the dinner menu and offers quite a range of soups, noodle dishes, rice dishes, and an intriguingly named “Delights” section which holds the entrée (appetiser for you North Americans) style dishes. There was no way I was leaving without having some sort of rice paper roll, so I started with the Delights section. Mum and I soon decided to get both the roasted duck and vegetarian rice paper rolls, while Dad chose the crispy wontons with minced shrimp and pork.

Hòanh Thánh Chiên (crispy wonton made up with minced shrimps, minced pork, garlic, green onion and egg, served with plum sauce) $6.20

Dad enjoyed his wontons, which looked nice and crisp, but was not much more forthcoming with adjectives so I’ll leave my commentary at that.

Gỏi Cuốn Chay (vegetarian rice paper rolls made with tofu, mint, rice stick, lettuce and bean shoots, served with hoisin sauce) $6.20

The last time my sister was in town we shared a serve of the vegetarian rice paper rolls and could not stop exclaiming over the deliciousness of the dipping sauce (hoisin, with sliced chilli and crushed peanuts) served with it. We were almost in fisticuffs over the last dribbles, and I’m glad that the sauce was as giddily tasty today as it was when she was in town. The rolls themselves were so fresh, with refreshing crunchy innards, and the rice stick also made them quite filling.

Vịt Quay Cuốn (roasted duck rice paper rolls with vegetable) $7.50

Inside the delicious duck rice paper roll

I was a little sad when I saw that the roasted duck and vegetable rice paper rolls were not served with the addictive hoisin sauce, but after biting into mine I discovered why – they have their own internal sauce! Yeah! Okay so the term internal sauce may not take off in reviewing circles but these babies were tasty. Tender pieces of tasty duck meat, surrounded by internal sauce (woo!) and fresh salad, encased in soft rice paper.

Mì Xào Vịt Quay (egg noodle stir fried with shredded roast duck and vegies) $16.00

Dad’s roast duck egg noodle dish came out while Mum and I were still making our way through the rice paper rolls, but luckily I managed to snap a photo before he got stuck in. It was a generous serving size, and packed full of slices of duck meat. He really enjoyed it, apart from a few large pieces of coriander stem, of which he is not a big fan.

Cơm Tấm Bì Sườn Chả Trứng (broken rice with flame grilled pork, pork strips, fried egg, pate, pickled vegetables and fish sauce) $11.20

I’m really glad that Mum and I decided to share a main dish after how filling the rice paper rolls were, and we were quite excited about seeing what the broken rice would be like. We were not disappointed when all three components of the dish came out – the main plate of food, a soup of broth, and a sweet chilli fish sauce. At first we were a little perplexed as to how we were going to share the pork chop, particularly as we didn’t have a knife, but it was so tender that we were able to tear it apart with our forks and spoons. The pork itself was absolutely packed with flavour. The pork strips and rice were also tasty, particularly with a drizzle of the sweet sauce. The egg was cooked very nicely, with some ooze to the yolk. The pate was also really tasty, with a strong yet not overpowering chicken flavour. Finally, the pickled vegetables were very refreshing. The dish is visually interesting, the flavours all worked really well together and I think $11.20 is great value for such a tasty, filling dish.

The Phi Yen website showcases a few of their dishes, and when I’d read about the broken rice dish on there earlier today it said “ask us how the rice is broken”. So, after telling our waitress how much we enjoyed the meals I decided to do just that. She couldn’t tell me! My Dad suggested that it’s lower grade rice, broken during processing/transport and just talked up to be an interesting ingredient. Initial googling seems to support this theory, though the broken grains would also have a different texture which would lend themselves more to certain dishes as compared with whole grains. They remind me of steel cut oats, my breakfast of choice, so lower grade or not, they’re alri
ght by me.

After finishing our meals we eyed off the dessert menu, which was filled with Azzura Gelati products, but we were all so full we couldn’t possibly fit any of the treats in. Next time, tummy, next time.

Phi Yen is a popular place, and although we didn’t need a booking for lunch it got quite full while we were eating. I’d definitely recommend booking if you were planning on going there for dinner.

Oh and one last thing.. Phi Yen have also recently opened up another store in the food court at the new shopping centre in the city – enex 100. Despite living within walking distance I don’t frequent the city all that often but I’m loving this food court already, and there are still more restaurants to join the party. No Hungry Jacks or Subway to be seen at this classy establishment, it’s actual “proper” restaurants such as Phi Yen, Cimbalino, Maya Masala and Matsuri that are opening up little outlets in here to offer a nicer food court experience than squeezing your way past teenagers lining up at Red Rooster (surely the school holidays must be over soon?).

Phi Yen
205 Brisbane Street (cnr Lake St), Northbridge
Phone: 08 9227 1032
Website: http://www.phiyenrestaurant.com.au/index.htm
Email: reservation@phiyenrestaurant.com.au
Hours: Open 7 days for lunch and dinner

Phi Yen on Urbanspoon

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Pam October 2, 2009 at 3:05 pm

Looks like a tasty restaurant.

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Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella October 3, 2009 at 11:56 am

Yum! I adore Vietnamese food although I don’t know what ther equivalent to gaijin is hehe. That’s what I heard about the broken rice too! I guess it makes sense not to waste it!

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Megan D October 3, 2009 at 3:33 pm

Love love love that dipping sauce! It’s always tasty :)

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Bromography October 3, 2009 at 4:55 pm

Everything looks delicious. I will have to look for a Vietnamese restaurant serving broken rice near me.

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Conor @ HoldtheBeef October 4, 2009 at 1:19 am

Pam – and it’s so close to my house! Yay!

Lorraine – Oh good, I’m glad my detective work is backed up! What a delicious waste product, mmm.

Megan D – I could have a bowl of that dipping sauce for dinner.

Bromography – You should, and if it’s anything like this dish then it’s also free entertainment to eat it with all the different components :D

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Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite October 4, 2009 at 1:31 am

Oh oh oh!!!! This looks right up my alley.

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Maria@TheGourmetChallenge October 4, 2009 at 4:16 am

lol @ brackets! i think the wontons would be my fav too, your dd has good taste! But you do need to train him a little more on the description of the dish, maybe buy him a thesaurus for christmas! lol

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Rilsta October 5, 2009 at 12:13 am

Yay for natural light photos! Hehe! :)

When I first saw the title of your post, I thought the restaurant name was Phwoar!!!

Your dad’s comment about the broken rice was funny, but then even funnier as it turned out to be true! I always thought it was a variety of rice that had softer grains than others and was purposely ground up! If you ever have the broken rice pork dish with normal rice, it just somehow tastes inferior!

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Conor @ HoldtheBeef October 5, 2009 at 1:13 am

Mardi – luckily it’s a short stroll from my alley ;)

Maria – hehe. I told my Dad about your comment and he wasn’t impressed by your present suggestion! I must say though that we went out for dinner last night and he was much more forthcoming with comments (of course I had not taken any photos this time though, d’oh)

Rilsta – indeed, hurrah! There totally needs to be a restaurant called Phwoar, but I guess it would set everyone’s expectations pretty high! Pretty funny Dad turned out to be right, seeing as I rolled my eyes at his suggestion when he made it, oops.

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Mackenna October 5, 2009 at 10:59 am

Maybe next time eat some of your dads meal and then you don’t have to rely on him for comments ;)

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Aranda October 5, 2009 at 12:19 pm

Conor: If you were interested in meeting a programmer boy, keep nesting those brackets with reckless abandon. The reviews are great BTW.

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CheapAppetite October 5, 2009 at 8:19 pm

Very nice:) I just had vietnamese food a couple of days ago. Your post makes me want to have some more now.

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Belle@OohLook October 7, 2009 at 1:23 am

Great looking meal, it makes me want to hop on a flight to Perth to try it out (I love crispy prawn wontons!)

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Trissa October 7, 2009 at 8:41 am

I’ve never had duck rice paper roll – gives me a great idea! That’s why I love reading blogs like yours – source of inspiration!

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Conor @ HoldtheBeef October 7, 2009 at 8:51 am

Mackenna – You obviously haven’t met my Dad… I value my fingers.

Aranda – I may be free and easy with the brackets, but sadly my code tends to be all comment and no content ;)

CheapAppetite – You should! Have a second lunch if necessary. Nice to pay you back for making me crave sushi the other day.

Belle – Quick, get here before Saturday when it’s meant to start raining again! I’ll order the wantons now.

Trissa – thank you :D Same to you! Just a shame I have to put up with the hunger pangs when reading yours ;)

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Iron Chef Shellie October 12, 2009 at 12:40 am

Oh yum! I will be trying this place next time I’m in Perth!

Rice paper rolls with built in sauce? awwwwesome!! I wonder if I can get rice paper rolls for lunch..hmmm…

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Simon January 28, 2010 at 7:31 am

Just letting you know that the vietnamese for equivalent for gaijin is ‘tay’
it translates roughly to ‘tourist’

:)

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Conor @ HoldtheBeef February 4, 2010 at 3:53 am

Iron Chef Shellie – built in sauce rocks. You can spend less time dipping and more time eating :D

Simon – thank you for the vocab boost! :)

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