A few years ago, Vietnamese in Northcote was pretty hard to find. Now you can’t swing a bunch of Thai basil on High St without hitting a bowl of pho. And thank god for that—if there’s one thing every city needs it’s more pho.
Ginger & Chives is the newest Vietnamese restaurant to join the Melbourne scene. A clean-cut red brick space, decked out in polished floorboards, red neon signage and pastel planters on the wall. These guys aren’t going for ‘hipster Vietnamese’ as such—it’s more about classic dishes from the north and south, cooked well and pumped full of chilli.
What does that look like? It looks like giant DIY Cuon bowls, stuffed with grilled chicken skewers, sugarcane prawn and banh kot, rice vermicelli and fragrant mint. Or maybe some authentic Bun Bo Hue: spicy Hue-style noodles swimming in a soul-nourishing beef, pork and lemongrass soup, stacked with grilled meat.
The menu is broken up into share plates and heftier bowls of noodles, rice or salad. Whatever you do, start with a serve of the wok-fried salt n’ pepper eggplant. Outrageously delicious. Then load up with Cha Gio porn spring rolls and a plate of the Com Ga Don: steamed rice with crispy-skinned chicken.
Ginger & Chives isn’t BYO, but they are licenced. There’s even a couple of beers on tap, including locally-brewed Once Bitter Ale. The wine list ain’t bad either.
Pro tip: save room for the durian ice-cream. Smells strange, tastes amazing. Trust us.
Image credit: Jenna Fahey-White