Spatula, Spoon and Saturday

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Melbourne Food Review: Co Do Vietnamese, Victoria St., Richmond

I can’t remember how we ended up there one night. We usually popped into a restaurant on Victoria St. due to being out late in the city and just needed some food. I do believe this occasion was one of them.

I have been to Co Do once before and was reluctant to go again, not because the food or service was no good, but because I have this misguided notion that I should try every restaurant on Victoria St. at least once so I shouldn’t go back on the one that I have already been to.

(complimentary side salad)

Unfortunate (or fortunately), we went in there because it was the first restaurant we went past that had an EFTPOS sign. Good thing we did. We had some really good food on the night.

I felt like a bit of noodle soup but I didn’t feel like the usual pho (which I love) so I ordered rice vermicelli with duck and bamboo shoot soup. Now, most Vietnamese noodle joints give you a bit of beansprouts, lemon slice and some basil, if you’re lucky, but Co Do goes all out with a heap of fresh yummy-looking beansprouts with a tonne of mixed lettuce and cabbage. The salad was very nice and fresh.

(rice vermicelli with duck and bamboo shoots soup – $8.50?)

The soup was beautifully mellow. The bamboo shoots were different types to ones you’d get in your usual Chinese-style stir-fries, it was a bit softer and just different. I know (being a Thai and all) that there are at least 4-5 different types of common eating bamboo shoots but this wasn’t one of the ones I was familiar with. The duck was tender and well cooked. I have this strange notion that duck pieces in a soup should be stewed until it falls apart but this one didn’t but it wasn’t tough and it was just right. It also came with a bit of duck’s blood cube. I’m never a really big fan of blood cubes anyway so I took a tiny bite and decided that it wasn’t any special worth bothering with.

(Vietnamese broken rice with fried egg, grilled pork chop and other goodies – $8.50?)

Josh, bless his cotton socks, went and ordered the Vietnamese broken rice. So predictable. Mind you, it is a really good Vietnamese dish. Whoever invented it was a genius. Basically, using ‘broken’ rice i.e. rice grains that were broken during the husking process i.e. second-grade, cheaper rice, they managed to make it a very special dish by serving it with grilled pork chop (marinated Vietnamese-style with lemongrass), fried egg and shredded pork rind (I think flavoured with toasted and ground rice – really I don’t know how. It’s one of those things that’s good so you don’t bother questioning it). Some restaurants also serve it with Vietnamese egg/pate/meatloaf type thing (again, don’t question it). Co Do’s broken rice is an example of a typically good Vietnamese broken rice dish.

(stir-fried mixed vegetables with tofu – $11?)

I was also desperate for some veggies (I suppose if I had remembered that the side salad was huge, I might not have bothered) so I ordered stir-fried vegetables with tofu. It was yummy but nothing special.

All in all, it was a good meal but I still have to go through ALL of the restaurants on Victoria St., damnit. How much can one eat!?!

Co Do Vietnamese and Chinese Restaurant, 196 Victoria St., Richmond, VIC