Cô Thư Quán, Footscray

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MELBOURNE | Cô Thư Quán was one of our favourite spots for Vietnamese food in Melbourne until it had to shut down following the unfortunately fire that destroyed Footscray’s Little Saigon Market in 2016. The owners have since opened a Cô Thư Quán in Richmond and Street Wrap in the CBD, and most recently have reopened in Footscray.

The new Cô Thư Quá features a menu that greatly expands upon the delicious but rather limited street food offering of the original. The menu is split into several sections – snacks, starters, salads, wrap and roll, mains, desserts, vegetarian, and drinks. There’s a lot on offer, with specialities from across Vietnam, including many dishes you won’t find elsewhere in Footscray.

The space, while small, is larger than the original, with dark wood, paintings of traditional Vietnamese scenes, and a playlist that features Vietnamese covers of western pop songs. It’s a very welcoming, cafe like space that’s simple and nicely done.

One starter that returns from the original is the Banh Trang Cuon. These small, lightly fried mini rice paper wrappers are filled with a vibrant mixture of dried shrimp, cooked quail egg, beef jerkey, dried shredded squid, sour green mango, Vietnamese mint, spicy salted shrimp, crispy fried shallot,and house-made scallion oil. They are then topped with a drizzle of Kewpie mayonnaise. There’s a lot of flavour and textures in each bite and they are wonderfully delicious.

The Canh Bun (Water Spinach Noodle Soup) is a dish that we several people ordering while browsing the menu, so we decided to give it a go. It’s a northern Vietnamese dish which features a house made chicken broth soup filled with freshwater crab paste, thick rice noodles, a pork and crab meatball, Vietnamese pork sausage, fried tofu, tomato, water spinach, and a cube on congealed pork blood. The bowl is topped with crispy fried shallots and spring onions, and served with a tamarind sauce and shrimp paste. There’s a lot going on in this bowl and it’s wonderful. The broth is fishy and pungent in a very good way, and all of the ingredients come together wonderfully. A great example of the interplay between flavours and textures in Vietnamese food.

Pho is on the menu and while we wanted to be more adventurous, the fact is that we really felt like a bowl. We opted for the Pho Bo – a light and aromatic broth of beef bone, cinnamon, cardamom, star anise, cloves, peppercorn, ginger and onion. Filled with steamed rice noodles and thinly sliced beef it’s a great bowl of pho. It comes garnished with sliced onions, coriander and scallions, with fresh bean sprouts, herbs and chilli sauce on the side.

The drinks menu contains favourites like Vietnamese coffee, milk tea, and juices, along with less familiar options. For example nuoc sua, a fermented dracontomelon (a tropical fruit found in northern Vietnam) drink and dua tac – a blend of coconut juice, kumquat juice, and young coconut flesh. Both are delicious.

With the new menu and same friendly service, Cô Thư Quán is even better than before. There’s a lot to try, and we will definitely be back to try dishes that are new to us, and ones that take us back to our time in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

Cô Thư Quán

Shop 11-12
10 Droop Street
Footscray
Victoria 3011
Australia

Telephone: (03) 9689 1451
E-mail: n/a
Website

Open
Sun – Thu: 10:30am to 9:00pm
Fri – Sat: 10:30am to 9:30pm

Co Thu Quan Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Paul
Paul
Paul founded The City Lane back in 2009 as a place to share photos of his travels around Europe with friends and family. The City Lane might have changed quite a lot since those early days but one thing that’s remained constant is Paul’s passion for food, travel and culture, and a desire to photograph and write about his experiences. Paul has a strong inquisitive nature that drives him to look beneath the surface in order to discover what really makes a city and its people tick, and what better way to do this than over a good meal or drink, with a city’s locals, at places that people who live in that city actually frequent. Paul is also a co-host of The Brunswick Beer Collective, a podcast that may or may not actually be about beer.

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