297 Exhibition Street
MissChu. One of the restaurants/cafes that Sydney has sent to us, like Longrain (as opposed to the ones we’ve sent them, like every laneway restaurant ever and Rockpool Bar & Grill). I believe MissChu is an example of where Melbourne, or rather Melbourne urbanspooners, can get it wrong. 59% is normally a rating on Urbanspoon that tells me to steer clear, well clear of any establishment scoring this low. However: I liked MissChu. There. I’m not afraid to say it. And, I went late in the day, when they had run out of all their good stuff, and if I still liked it then… well, it can’t be half bad. I have a feeling there’s an element of reverse snobbery at play: “well, if it’s good enough for Sydney… we can’t possibly like it.”
There are some kitchy cool elements to MissChu that I had fun with. Ordering my meal off a tuckshop menu? Fun.
Being able to sit at the bar and watch rice paper rolls being made? Also fun.
Giant blown-up visa immigration photos on the wall? Also check. Sorry, fun. Weird! I mean weird. What was I listing off again?
Anyway, and so to the food. We got there late in lunchtime, not excessively late but a team meeting had run overtime and so we were probably there around 1.30ish. By that stage, so they told us, all the rice paper rolls were sold out, so although I’d had my eye on the duck ones, we had to settle for vegetarian. Which is odd, because we were seated at the bar and watching a guy roll some that were definitely not vegetarian. Perhaps they were for the home delivery orders? Nevertheless, the vegetarian ones were fine (key components a giant slice of avocado, tofu and herbs).
They come with a little squeeze bottle of sauce.
My friend S ordered the bun bo, lemongrass beef (they call it fresh vermicelli salads, because this is Vietnamese for white people) and I got the seared Atlantic salmon version.
Both were fine, my salad leaves were a little gritty but I’m too hungry at 2pm to care about that (and not paying enough, either). What I would say regarding the beef versus the salmon salad is that it’s very hard not to eat all the ‘good bits’ ie. the salmon out of the salad and then you’re left with undressed noodles and herbs, while the beef at least gets stirred through. The noodle dishes didn’t appear to come with a little bowl of nuoc cham dressing which could have made all the difference here. However, both were tasty and the amount of food we had was ample.
My friend Danielle of Monschable Melbourne has been to MissChu many more times than I have, and raves about their rice paper rolls, although she found the wagyu pho lacking to say the least; Dave Plus Food likes the rice paper rolls but as a lunchtime food and also found the immigration photos a bit wacky; and Two Munch had a quick dinner there and tried a few more things on the menu like the dumplings.