19 July 2007

Quan 88

88 Victoria St, Richmond
Ph: (03) 9428 6850
Open: Sun-Wed 11am-10pm, Thu-Sat 11am-11pm

LIKE an old friend, Quan 88 is comforting, loyal and reliable. The only restaurant listed in my mobile phone, the Victorian street Vietnamese legend is a regular haunt.

Not much has changed with Quan 88 in the decade I’ve been visiting for shared dishes with friends and family in a noisy, relaxed setting.

Since I live almost on its doorstep, Quan 88’s kitchen has supplemented ours, especially during recent kitchen renovations.

A combination vegetable and beancurd ($10.50) has been a regular takeaway order, to the point where I’ve overdosed on it’s goodness.

Well it was months since I’d dropped into Quan. My sister was craving Vietnamese, and being tied to her six month old baby and his wheels, a lunch session was going to work. Quan is surprisingly empty on a Monday lunchtime. So no problem with prams and a baby who has just found his vocal chords.

A pot of green tea was served up immediately by Quan's efficient waiting staff. There’s a lunch special of combination sizzling hot pot dishes at ridiculously cheap prices. ($7.50). A choice of chicken, pork or beef with Mongolian, sate, black bean, lemon grass, chilli, sweet and sour or oyster sauce on fried egg noodles, steamed or fried rice or vermicelli noodles seemed good value.

But we tucked into our favourite - vegetarian rice paper rolls. At Quan they are a crunchy mix of vegetables, herbs and vermicelli rice noodles wrapped in beautifully soft rice paper. They are super fresh, served with a tasty peanut dipping sauce. One serve costs $6.50 for six.

The rice paper rolls became our main meal as we tucked into a second serving. The crunchy vegetables contrast beautifully with the soft rice paper.

We then got stuck into a serve of grilled chicken with lemongrass and chilli ($12) on a sizzling hot plate. Not bad. It was tasty, powerfully aromatic and filling.

Quan is BYO and accepts bookings, which are recommended for large groups. It has daily specials, and a very extensive menu with all the Victoria St favourites: salt and pepper squid, sang choi bao and fried combination seafood egg noodles to name a few.

But it's the rice paper rolls we love. And we returned the next week for more, shirking the rest of an extensive menu. We found consistent good quality and freshness.

7.5/10 (but 10/10 for the rice paper rolls!!)

- Kate


Anonymous said...

Great review -I haven't actually been there for years so great to hear it is still good. Thanks Zoe and Kate!

HEATHERb said...

Sounds absolutely divine. I have booked a table for 10 for my partner's birthday based on your wonderful report.
Will get back to you.
Thanks for the inspiration

kate said...

I think the chilli salt squid has gone a bit downhill since the first visit many years ago, but 88 is still a top pick. A drunken evening with a big group of friends in the room up the top still rates as one of my best ever evenings!