14 April 2008

Mekong Vietnamese Restaurant

It had been a long time between drinks for the Bloggers – the Asian meal, which had been the corner-stone of their embyonic, pre-Blog Thursday night dinner club, had not yet made an appearance on Beaufort Street (despite some very passable Indian along the way). The Deliberator was sporting a nasty satay-withdrawal rash, and the Sponge had developed a strange facial tick. Mekong was going to have to deliver, and deliver well.

Immediately on walking into the establishment, we knew we were in safe hands: the simple décor, large 3D tapestry art on the wall and specials-laden whiteboard all screamed to us that we were in line for an authentic Perth-style Vietnamese experience. The only thing missing was the standard Good Luck Cat statue at reception (although its place was ably taken by the largest red tassle ornament that any of us had seen).

By coincidence (and brought on in part by the Deliberator’s signature tardiness), all four Bloggers were starving prior to arrival. This, coupled with the Bloggers’ recent Asian food drought, resulted in the Brains (being the long-established designated orderer at all Asian restaurants) proceeding to put Mekong through its paces by ordering a plethora of old favourites plus a selection of intriguing new dishes.

Starters of stuffed chicken wings, satay sticks, pork and prawn rolls and fried wantons admirably managed to take the edge off (although, and with no disrespect to Mekong, we would gladly have eaten a plate of sheep dags in our famished and emaciated state). This was followed by chilli pepper squid, Saigon-style chicken, Vietnamese pork fillets (big winner) and thick beef curry, accompanied by rice, noodles and Vietnamese bread. (Note: Vietnamese bread looks and tastes exactly like every other bread roll the Bloggers have ever eaten in Perth. Obviously a testament to the proliferation of Vietnamese bakeries in the city.)

Staff were very friendly and attentive, and very quick to bring out food and top up glasses. A lack of spoken English at times only served to enhance the authentic feel (although it could also have contributed to our Saigon duck somehow turning into Saigon chicken between the order pad and the kitchen).

Mekong is BYO wine and beer with no (discernable) corkage. For BITO (now only 5 more blogs off that elusive first post-pregnancy wine and cheese binge), the home-made lemonade proved a winner.

As usual, the Bloggers vastly overdid it on the consumption front, and rolled out of Mekong into the night, fully sated in every respect.

In summary:

Service: Very friendly and attentive.

Food: Ticked all the boxes. The couple of "experimental" dishes ordered were well worth straying off the beaten track for.

Ambience: Authentic Perth-style Vietnamese. The missing Good Luck Cat didn’t seem to have any negative influence on the evening.

Highlight: Would have to be the Vietnamese pork fillets. And reintroducing ourselves to Thursday night Asian.

Lowlight: Being made to leave an Asian restaurant without eating duck.

Rating: 3.5 fried wantons out of 5.

Will we be back? Yes. We have unfinished business with the Saigon duck.

Details: Call them on (08) 9271 4181. The cost was $25 per head with BYO wine and more food than any human should sensibly attempt.

Coming up: After some confusion, next week will be Rembrandt’s.


Anonymous said...

Hi I have to say that after reading some of your reviews that I am keen to try some of your recommendations, but also a bit unsure. Perhaps your hunger affected this particular review? My experience of Mekong was that it was 'australianised' asian, which lacked the lightness, freshness and clean flavours one comes to expect from what I would consider "authentic" vietnamese. Mekong seemed abit on the heavy, oversauced, underconsidered side of things that really gets my goat. To be fair, when hungry i have been known to enjoy less ravishing offerings... but hunger aside - i could not recommend this to anyone. that is unless your favourite south east asian meal is sweet and sour pork and fried rice. sorry.

Beaufort Street Bloggers said...

Hi Anonymous. Thanks for your comment, and there is no need to apologise, not everyone agrees on what they like and dislike.

We would, however, like to point out that we never suggested that the Mekong offered an 'authentic' Vietnamese dining experience. We did mention that it was an authentic Perth style Vietnamese dining experience, which of course, means you can expect Australianised asian food.

The bloggers are clearly not particular about authenticity. What's wrong with eating sweet and sour pork at an Asian restaurant? The reason it is so popular is because people like it. Who cares if it's a made-up dish? We would still prefer to eat that than an authentic tripe and 100-year-egg soup.

We do understand where you're coming from though and it's not like we only eat anglo-cised versions of food. Between the 4 of us, we've had severe gastro in most continents of the world as a result of over indulging in road-side delights. The Sponge and BITO have spent several days holed up in a tiny bathroom in Turkey, the Brains spent Chinese New Year in Saigon on the bog with a bucket in her lap and the Deliberator even managed to contract dysentery in Egypt, putting him out of action for several weeks.

What we're trying to say is that we enjoy food for what it is, we try everything we can, and if it's not genuine but still tastes ok, we're pretty happy.

Anonymous said...


Went to the Mekong based on your report. Good food. Saigon duck was goood!

Beaufort Street Bloggers said...

Hi Anonymous, thanks for your comment. We're pretty jealous to hear you actually got to try the Saigon duck, but it's good news that it was decent. It's time we went back to sort that out.

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