When we think of the number 9 and Vietnamese restaurants in Sydney, various things come to mind. Perhaps it’s your go-to office takeaway at the food court downstairs or maybe it refers to that tasty combination pho in that local haunt around the corner. But leave your expectations at the door for this one, because the number 9 just got an upgrade that we’re totally lovin’.
Carving out a name for itself on one of Sydney’s yummiest streets, So 9 in Waterloo feels nothing like the Vietnamese you’re used to. Translating to, you guessed, the number 9 (a lucky number in Vietnamese culture) this Sydney restaurant mixes authentic street food with an interior style plucked from the opposite side of the world that on paper reads like a mismatch but in person, just works.
Now I’ve spent many a day and many more late nights eating at some delicious Vietnamese restaurants in Sydney. But let’s just say the word glamorous doesn’t immediately spring to mind when I recall those experiences. That’s where So 9 proves me wrong. With its mix of light timbered features, concrete surfaces and pastel accents, the whole space feels modern and light, making this less of a hungry uni student hive, and more date night or group meeting spot to impress.
But, of course, beautiful surrounds mean nothing if there’s not a menu to match and boy does So 9 do Vietnamese well. Breaking away from the order-by-numbers system typical of other haunts, this Vietnamese restaurant in Waterloo takes its inspiration from the street vendors of Hanoi, having a number of windowed stations dedicated to certain dishes so you can see the magic happening in plain view.
From the Bánh Xèo Station (Vietnamese pancakes) we had the prawn and pork version. For starters, this thing is the size of your head, it’s also incredibly crispy and generously filled with various Asian herbs, beans sprouts and doesn’t scrimp at all on the prawn front. And of course we couldn’t go past the Bánh Mìs. You really can’t go wrong with the pulled chicken version—that crispy baguette and sauced up meat with just the right amount of spice had us coming back for takeaway the next day.
While we do love our protein here at The Urban List, what’s kind of great news for our greener friends is that with so many variations on your Vietnamese favourites, there’s always a vegan friendly option in there too.
And in their never-ending quest to change the way we think about eating authentic Vietnamese food, we’ve heard from a little birdie that there’s a new brunch menu on the horizon at So 9. We can already imagine ourselves cuddling up on their cushion-stuffed bench with a never-ending supply of rice paper rolls and one of their fruity cocktails to while away a lazy Sunday.
It’s the kind of Vietnamese we didn’t know we needed but now that we’ve got it, we’re never letting go.
Image credit: Jackielyn Powell
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