MELBOURNE | Rue de Thanh is a Vietnamese restaurant in Fitzroy that’s striking a different path than most in this city. Owner/executive chef Thanh Tran and head chef and head chef Thi Hong Nguyen (who grew up in northern Vietnam), are looking at Vietnamese food through a distinctly French lens.
French influence can be found throughout Vietnamese cuisine, but you don’t really find restaurants in Australia that offer the sort of French-Vietnamese hybrid experience that you can find at restaurants in Vietnam. At Rue de Thanh, you’ll find dishes that perhaps could have evolved in France, if the colonisers were those who were colonised. Tran and Nguyen’s heritage, and Tran’s experience working in European and modern Australia restaurants all come into play.
The menu is roughly split into ‘street eats’, small and large dishes, and desserts. It’s food that lends itself to sharing with a group of friends, but if you just want a few snacks and a drink at the bar or open kitchen, you can do that too.
Quality local seafood is showcased, with dishes like hào tươi (fresh Pacific oysters with citrus nước mắm), điệp (pan seared scallops with celeriac puree, chilli jam, kafir lime leaf, and chilli oil), and the showstopping cá nướng. The latter is a charcoal grilled whole fish with tomato nuoc mam, dill, lime, chilli, and spring onion that’s theatrically carved at the table (ask to keep the head so you can get that succulent cheek meat).
It’s not just about seafood though. The menu is filled with vegetable (vegans are well catered for) and meat delights that are familiar yet different. Bò kho is a deconstructed version of the traditional curry-like soup, featuring grilled marinated beef fillet with spiced carrot purée, fragrant beef stew sauce, annatto oil, crispy sweet potato, chilli, and Thai basil. It’s outstanding. Even the simple gà nướng (free range roast chicken, marinated in lime, lemongrass, and chilli with lime fish sauce) is a cut above the usual.
The cho tôi ăn (feed me) menu, which gets you a generous amount of each of the restaurants signature dishes, is a steal at $75 a head. If there’s anything particular on the menu that’s not on the feed me menu, Tran is happy to swap something out so you can try it.
Cocktails are the highlight of the drinks menu, tropical leaning house creations and Vietnamese twists on the classics. There’s also a decent selection of minimal intervention and more traditional wine styles on offer, plus Vietnamese and local craft beer, sodas, and mocktails.
Rue de Thanh
406 Brunswick Street
Tue – Thu: 12:00pm to 10:00pm
Fri – Sat: 12:00pm to 10:30pm
Sun: 12:00pm to 9:30pm