Adventures in Griffith | Griffith Vietnamese Restaurant and Aubergine

This week has been good. It’s pay week and I thought consecutive nights out with Bron would be fun.

After our recent Vietnam holiday we’ve been keen to explore local Vietnamese venues. The Griffith Vietnamese Restaurant has a great reputation in Canberra. The walls are covered in laminated pages with notes and messages from local identities and Australian politicians. Some of them are humorous, some are boring and some are self promoting.

This place is fun and a little quirky but there is a buzz when you enter the front door. The lighting is good, that is, it’s bright. We had a table near the front door and through the evening the wait staff were constantly kicking the door closed to stop the icy cold draught of Canberra’s evening air.

For an entrée we chose a serving (4) Vietnamese spring rolls. These were light and crispy and delicious. Some internet reviewers were a little unkind in referring to them as containing mainly bits of carrot and cabbage. I really liked these. They weren’t oily or tough. As you bit into them you bit through it rather than dragging pieces out when you pulled away the remaining spring roll.

Sorry I didn’t get this into focus

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For main course dishes we chose a Vietnamese pancake (Bánh Xeo) and a hot and spicy calamari dish. The pancake was quite large and not in keeping with Ms Vy’s family philosophy of using a small pan for individual pancakes that are cheap and just the right size :-) I was pretty happy with the more substantial helping and the extra filling inside. The calamari was a real surprise. It was very spicy but the heat didn’t linger so it wasn’t at all unpleasant. There was plenty of calamari plus lots of onion and capsicum (peppers). I could have eaten another big plate but I know it would have made me fart more all night :-)

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The Griffith Vietnamese Restaurant is moderately priced and well worth visiting. It’s the sort of place that if you lived close by you could make it a pay day regular.

I’ve scanned the takeaway menu and there is a link at the end of this post.

Griffith Vietnamese Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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Aubergine has been regarded highly by Canberra diners for many years. It’s established itself as a fine dining restaurant in Canberra and this region. We ate here on a Thursday (pay day). The menus are fresh each day and it may not contain all there is on offer.

I’ve scanned Thursday’s menu and there is a link at the end of this post.

After we were seated and coats collected an extensive wine menu was provided. Soon after we were presented with a menu and the news that between entrée and main course, the Chef had specially prepared a slow cooked egg with a foam of corn and it was topped with regional truffles. I immediately knew I was going to ask for that too.

The lighting in Aubergine is in Bron’s words “atmospheric”. If you asked me, I’d say, “dark”. Bron knows that means for me the food photography with an iPhone 5 and its flash disabled will be an unrewarding experience. Even with the enhanced low light capability of the iPhone 5, the images weren’t very good.

Aubergine bakes its bread daily and along with perfectly presented butter we enjoyed some brown bread as the Amuse-bouche arrived. I didn’t get an image of it and I cannot remember how our waiter described it. All I know is, it was marvellous. So tasty and so appetising.

For an entrée I asked for the Veal sweetbreads, veal tartare, parsnip, bitter cocoa, crispy quail egg. This was amazing. I am a lover of offal and my alter ego (DrOffal) really enjoyed the unctuous oral sensations imparted by the sweetbreads.

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As requested after the entrée we received a slowly cooked egg, corn foam and truffles. The truffle aroma permeated the air around our table. The dish had a smoothness and a crunch and a taste that was all its own. If this was on the menu, I’d eat it again.

Sorry about the poor image quality

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For a main meal I chose the Braised pork belly, pork tail stuffed with prune, smoked cauliflower, red cabbage. The cauliflower and cabbage were perfectly presented and cooked. I ate most of it before I touched the pork because we’d also asked for parsley potatoes and I wanted them to share my fork with the delicious pork. The pork belly and pork tail were pull apart perfectly cooked. The fat to meat ratio in the pork belly was perfect. The flavour was sublime. The serving size was perfect. By the end, I knew I had eaten a perfectly cooked piece of pork.

If you’re a porcine aficionado, do this dish and do it often.

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For dessert the selection was interesting. I regard myself as reasonably adventurous but when it’s dessert I’m a little immature in my tastes. I played it safe with the Orange crème caramel, caramelised orange, hazelnut praline, orange sorbet. This was at the point of being too tart but not quite. It wasn’t sweet. It was very refreshing.

Aubergine is a fantastic restaurant. You can book on-line through http://dimmi.com.au and the wait staff are super friendly and helpful. I would highly recommend this restaurant for anyone wanting a fine dining experience in Canberra.

Aubergine on Urbanspoon

and of course the dinners are made even better having Bron to dine with :-)

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Griffith Vietnamese Restaurant

Menu Griffith Vietnamese Restaurant

UrbanSpoon http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/344/1563041/restaurant/ACT/Griffith-Vietnamese-Restaurant-Canberra

TripAdvisor http://www.tripadvisor.com.au/Restaurant_Review-g255057-d725304-Reviews-Griffith_Vietnamese_Restaurant-Canberra_Greater_Canberra_Australian_Capital_Territ.html

Google maps http://goo.gl/maps/pFq4e

Non food ratings
Toilet I didn’t go
Napkins Fail (they were paper)
Wait staff etiquette Pass (there was no premature plate evacuation)

Aubergine http://www.aubergine.com.au/

Menu Aubergine menu for 2013-08-01

UrbanSpoon http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/344/1544380/restaurant/ACT/Canberra/Aubergine-Griffith

TipAdvisor http://www.tripadvisor.com.au/Restaurant_Review-g255057-d721691-Reviews-Aubergine-Canberra_Greater_Canberra_Australian_Capital_Territory.html

Google maps http://goo.gl/maps/JqAfl

Non food ratings
Toilet 4.75 The unisex toilets were large enough to swing a cat. They were well appointed, quiet, adequately lit and calming. The only downside was the hole in the bench for the used hand towels which looked a little amateurish.
Napkins Pass (they were cloth)
Wait staff etiquette Pass (there was no premature plate evacuation)

15 thoughts on “Adventures in Griffith | Griffith Vietnamese Restaurant and Aubergine

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