Amidst the newly sprouted crop of Vietnamese eateries in Adelaide is a little converted laundromat in the South West of the square mile, just off Whitmore Square in Sturt Street, called Vietnamese Laundry.
Vietnamese Laundry is the brainchild of Alex Fahey, a carpenter by trade, and Vietnamese born former accountant Tin Chu, who opened the restaurant about three months ago.
Alex is responsible for the shop’s chic and creative fit out, complete with a reclaimed wooden exterior and quirky laundry themed interior. He stripped back the former laundromat’s interior to bare bricks in parts and built the kitchen from scratch. “Tin was my co-builder,” Alex laughs, “She can lift more than it looks like she can,” he jokes about his diminutive wife.
Alex and Tin were married six months ago in Vietnam, in Tin’s home town of Dalat. Tin’s family still live there, including her Grandma who she credits with teaching her many of her cooking skills. “Like the pickled vegetables,” she says, pointing to the array of vegetables that go onto of the Bahn Mi and salads. “They last longer and stay fresh because of how they are pickled.”
Alex and Tin bought a cottage in the city a few years ago and had talked about starting a bar or restuarant for some time. When they saw the laundromat their idea grew legs. “This side of the city doesn’t have many options for the people who live here or the office workers,” says Alex. “We’ve been doing really well, we are full at 12pm and some days have a lineup out the door”.
In 2015 the bubbly pair plan to start focusing a little more on the bar which will be open in the evenings. “All the bars in Vietnam have food,” said Alex. “It’s really relaxed and people go out a lot at night.”
The Vietnamese Laundry is in the process of obtaining a license and plans to serve unique shared cocktails like strong iced teas in Chinese teapots to compliment small shared plates of Vietnamese dishes next year.
Snacks: Tin says people often just grab a little snack as an add on. Everything is made fresh everyday. A few of the popular snacks are Fried Chicken and Vegetarian Spring Rolls ($2.20). For $5.50 you can get three Deep Fried Chicken Wings or a Bao (Steamed bun) for $4.
Lunch options: If you have been living under a rock, a Bahn Mi is a French/Vietnamese style roll filled with Vietnamese flavours. The previous French occupation of Vietnam means there is a long history of baking unique to Vietnam which is where the Bahn Mi Thit was born. Bahn Mi Thit is basically a light baguette filled with meat, pate and homemade mayonnaise. At Vietnamese Laundry you can grab one for $6.50 with Crackling Roast Pork (which was really good) or Char Grilled Lemongrass Chicken or a combination of the two for $6.80.
Traditional noodle salads are slightly more expensive, but still very substantial. Vermicelli noodles are topped with Vietnamese salads, dry shallots, crushed peanuts and home made fish sauce dressing. For $11.50 you can add the meats mentioned earlier or include a combination with the addition of chopped up Spring Rolls on top. The vegetarian option ($11) also includes the spring roll topping with soy dressing.
Vietnamese coffee: The Vietnamese Laundry only serves Vietnamese coffee in the traditional way, drip filtered black coffee, poured over ice, with sweetened condensed milk. Tin shows InDaily the packet and the beans are definitely grown in the highlands of Vietnam – can’t get more authentic than that and it’s delicious with a slightly nutty flavour and a full caffeine hit.
152 Sturt Street, Adelaide.
Open 10.30am-3.30pm daily.
More lunch reviews:
The Penang Restaurant
Let Them Eat
Kutchi Deli Parwana
Hanuman’s Bento Box
United Latino Cocina
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