Asian Flavours

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Uncle St Kilda


If you haven’t been to this place already, seriously, you’d be crazy not to check it out. It’s called ‘Uncle’ (a friendly and warm term used to express endearment and respect to elders in Europe and Asia) and it’s exactly what Carlisle Street has been craving, to spice things up a bit, for too long.

About Uncle

Serving unparalleled Vietnamese cuisine with only the freshest of ingredients, and authentic flavours like you would only expect when dining in Vietnam, Uncle has been a roaring sensation since it first opened its doors in October 2013. Kudos goes to Uncle’s evidently talented and creative Vietnamese Head Chef, and co-owner, Dai Duong (master of all the tastebud sensations) and joint proprietor and business partner Rene Spence, who dedicates himself to front of house.

Furthermore, alongside Uncle’s attentive, young and hip wait staff, fitting in well with the modern, happy and chilled out vibe to this place; its Uncle’s unassuming location and upstairs al fresco dining area (strewn with splashes of green fernery and bamboo) that gives this place a relaxed atmosphere and makes it a hit. And did I mention you get supplied with traditional Vietnamese hats, if you’re not covered by their outside awnings and you’re dining out in the sun? – Pretty cool, like the rest of their establishment, if you ask me.

And if all this hasn’t already impressed you enough, not only does Uncle do a fabulous (and predominantly healthy) food menu that kindly caters for coeliac’s, vegan’s and vegetarian’s, or those with nut, garlic, onion or egg allergies; they also do a mean cocktail (must try the Viet Sangria, $9 a glass, $17 a bottle) and provide for a fine selection of other alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Finally, here is a restaurant (with bar downstairs) where friends of all dietary needs, for all occasions, can come and rejoice (I know I did, when I visited Uncle for a cruisy Saturday lunch session and tasted their many tasty delights on offer).

The Food Review – Starters

Starting off the foodie rendezvous, on chef’s recommendations, I tried Uncle’s ‘spicy steak tartare, shiso crispy wakame on betel leaf’($5 apiece) and although eating ‘raw meat’ wouldn’t usually be on my palatable agenda – honestly, this bite-sized, fresh herb enfolded concoction was so fresh and well prepared – you wouldn’t have even known. And being served in a crunchy and textured dark green betel leaf, the novelty factor of this ‘little guys’ dish, also makes it worth a try.

Then came out the ‘crispy pigs ear with pickles and peanuts’ ($6.50 apiece), which if you like ‘chip butty’s’, is the nearest Asian equivalent (add the extra crunch factor). Served in a sweet bun with Asian salad and a spread of creamy mayo; you’ve got a moreish appetizer in your hand.

To wash the starters down with more mellow flavours, the ‘Pho Bo’ (traditional Vietnamese beef noodle soup [mini $7, large $12]) worked its magic and its warming lemongrass tainted broth soothed my tummy, and tastebuds, for the bigger dishes to come.

But not to forget to order a complimenting sidekick to be had with the mains; the ‘black wild rice, nuts, grains, chilli, fragrant herbs w/ panko crumbed hens egg’ ($13) is highly recommended, and is a naturally pomegranate sweet and mint-refreshing accompaniment to any of the heavier options.

The Food Review – Mains

Furthering my ravenous conquest with picks from the ‘bigger guys’; the ‘sher waygu brisket marble score 8+ w/pomelo, fragrant herbs and chilli salt’ ($33) was an absolute winner, and the succulent and immersive flavours of this meat is hard to transcribe. But, if you can imagine the smell and flavour of freshly carved roast lamb, just out the oven, it resembles something similar to that. Or perhaps it’s better likened to the texture and juiciness of pork belly with a light rim of succulent fat encompassing its edges – either or, this is one dish you have to try for yourself. Add the pink, sweet, flesh morsels of pomelo (Asian citrus fruit, similar to pink grapefruit), and chilli salt, and you have a dish that’s flavours are exemplified even further. Well sized portions too – what tasty satisfaction.

Same goes for the ‘wok tossed Spanish mackerel, steamed rice rolls w/ holy basil and XO butter’ ($33) – this was another standout spectacular. Chunks of meaty white, mouth-watering fish, meld in delectably well with Duong’s version of rice paper gnocchi (soft dough-like dumplings); all basked in the shining glory of XO butter, with divine crispy and flavoursome fried shallot titbits on top. Wow, how could you go far wrong? – You couldn’t, another truly exemplary dish.

The Food Review – Desserts

Flowing on, if it’s a refreshing dessert that you’re craving to finish your eating extravaganza, don’t look past the ‘tropical fruit salad (with) coconut cream, sorbet and honeycomb’ ($12); the tantalising fresh flavours of real berry, coconut and delicate honeycomb brittle, will blow you away. Much like the whole Uncle experience really. Uncle St Kilda, so true what your menu states: ‘Uncle knows best’.

By Ravenous Renee

Uncle St Kilda

188 Carlisle Street, St Kilda


Opening hours:

Monday – Closed (opening soon)

Tuesday – 5.00pm-Late

Wednesday to Sunday – 12pm-Late

Public Holidays Closed

Ph: (03) 9041 2668

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