Saturday, May 28, 2011

Dao Vien Vietnamese

While we all know not to expect too much of spectacular experience when going to an Asian Restaurant, except for fast and tasty food. It doesn't bother me much if they were not providing top notch service or the tables were sticky, or using chipped crockery, as long as the food is good. Unfortunately ... Dao Vien is not like the others. 

An empty restaurant with tired looking decor 
Walking into the restaurant for lunch, immediately gave me a weird sense of vibe. It was hot and stuffy, I wondered if it was open as there were no other customers during lunch peak hour. We waited long for the lady owner to notice us and gave us a table. It was a huge place with lots of table but majority of the small table have dirty dishes that were left uncleared.

Dirty tables all around us
Well, first impression didn't quite make the cut, we were feeling uncomfortable and intimidated. Several negative thoughts were running in my mind, "did we just walked into a bad restaurant?", "is it close already?", "is the food gonna be fresh?", "am I gonna get sick after eating their food?", "so, is there anyone taking our order???". We didn't want to wait for too long to get noticed, we started using the waving technique, yet the lady owner was concentrating on reading her newspaper. Plan A failed, we decided to succumb to plan B - the waving plus vocal acknowledgment. Finally, she noticed us and took our order, though she didn't feel sorry for neglecting us at all.

Vietnamese Iced Coffee
Thank god, we didn't have to wait for the beverage and food too long. The coffee was just alright, I've had better Vietnamese coffee somewhere else, as this one lack of omph.

Pork Spring Roll

My mate and I were in the mood for some spring roll, because it was so quiet and the owner seems not to care much about the customers' experience, I doubted the spring roll to be fresh, I was hoping the filling wasn't off or mouldy. To our surprise, the spring roll was the highlight, it was fresh, juicy, crunchy and nicely seasoned. The chef wasn't stingy in putting those filling in, unlike those frozen spring roll you get from the shop, which was doughy and filled with unidentified fillings. The spring roll skin were light and crisp, it was fried to perfection and dipping into the sauce just makes it taste even better.

Pho of Beef balls and raw beef slices 
I had the Beef pho and my mate had the chicken hot and sour pho, both came with 3 different chilli condiments and your usual bean sprouts, Thai basil and mint leaves. They were all fresh, which was a huge relieve for us. Although, the chicken hot and sour pho wasn't outstanding, my mate was quite disappointed with her dish as it taste exactly like packet Tom Yum instant noodles.

On the other hand, my beef pho was quite pleasant, the broth was pack full of flavour. It was exactly like what one is looking for in a beef pho. Having said that, the standard was just above average when compare to other Vietnamese restaurant in Perth.

The ambient and the service was a major let down, whether the food quality are able to turn my bad impression to a positive? Probably not! The sense of walking into an empty and quiet (no ambient music playing) restaurant while the lady owner doesn't seems to care, can be quite daunting. There are many other Vietnamese restaurant in Perth that do really good pho and provide a rather friendly service, some even have a comfortable environment to make you feel at ease.

We were using the entertainment card discount, which makes it a really cheap lunch. So, I guess we paid for what we get!

Food quality: 3 outta 5 spring roll
Service: 0.5 outta 5 spring roll
Ambient: 1.5 outta 5 spring roll
Will i ever be back?: Unfortunately not

Dao Vien Vietnamese
3, Fitzgerald Street,
Northbridge
08 9227 0837
Dao Vien Vietnamese on Urbanspoon

4 comments:

Conor @ Hold the Beef said...

I always wonder about this place as I drive past it, as it's not exactly the most conveniently located restaurant. I'm willing to tackle inconvenient location if the food is worth it but think I'll stick to my usual haunts!

(I have to wonder what Plan C would have been if A and B didn't work ;) )

Dim Sum Q said...

Plan C might be walking out. Unfortunately for us, we can't just walk to next door for food due to it's out of nowhere location.

Btw, congrats on your sister's achievement so far in Amazing Race

Ian said...

I've been there at least 10 times in the past couple of years with Chinese and Vietnamese friends as well as solo and frankly I've never had any major issues with Dao Vien.

The service is a bit hit and miss, it's a family run business but I've never waited for more than a couple of minutes to be tended to by either the owner or one of the other staff.

Food wise the Dao Vien is above average for Vietnamese food in Perth, their spring rolls are some of the best I've had outside of Vitenam and the Boxing Chicken is excellent value while the stuffed Chicken is superb and wouldn't be astray in a 3 Star Michelian restaurant.

Most of the mains are good, tasty and don't appear to be bogged down with too much MSG. The fried rice is nothing to write home about, it's about par for most Perth Asian restaurants. Their spicy mains are all available in hotter than standard varieties if you like it hot.

The biggest let down at night is the lighting, it's dull flat and boring, no music in the background is a bit of a killer when it's quiet too. The plastic crockery doesn't make for a good impression either. However it's very common in SE Asia and restaurants in China and in nearly 40 years of extensive travel in SE Asia I guess I've got used to it.

Overall it's good cheap and cheery food that's let down by a drab interior. Food 4/5, interior 1/5, value for money 9/10.

Anonymous said...

We (my wife and I and several friends) go there regularly because it offers wonderful food at an excellent price!
The menu is a little too large and a bit daunting so most times we ask the 'lady owner' to recommend our entire meal. Inevitably she selects a great range of dishes, and in good quantity for whatever number are seated.
We'll keep going back again and again unless something changes drastically.