Thanh Nga Nine – Richmond

A Victoria Street mainstay, but a phở miss



Thanh Nga Nine is a popular much-loved establishment on Victoria Street in Richmond, consistently filled with families and couples for a meal out.

Family-owned and run, the venue is brightly lit and colourful with lots of statues of Buddha, pictures of food and a well-stocked bar. The eponymous Thanh Nga, is usually overlooking the kitchen, whilst her son runs a tight ship on the dining floor. He is super friendly, knows the menu inside out when it comes to the ingredients in each dish and is always accommodating – a winner with vegetarians, vegans and food intolerants.

I’ve been a long-term fan of Thanh Nga Nine and with 280 odd items on the menu, including some unique dishes like mini Vietnamese pancakes and mung bean pie not available at many of the other places, I consider it an excellent place to invite the fussier eater or people not accustomed to Victoria Street. But the relevant question for us: is it a place to eat phở?

Well, it’s a not a phở joint – the interior is too nice to be strictly phở! – but the range of soups is extensive, including lots of seafood soups from different parts of Vietnam

I opted with the rare beef phở, as readers will know it’s a personal favourite and the best indicator of quality, since you can see the cut of meat.

Firstly the cuts of meat were a little unimpressive, rather than chunks of thinly sliced raw beef that cook in the hot broth, the meat was thin slithers that were completely cooked by the time they arrived, and the quantity was a little ungenerous.

On top of the soup there were generous quantities of thinly sliced red onion, chopped coriander and fried shallots, the addition of the coriander was a good solid addition that I’d like to see more often.

The broth was light and transparent with a very mild flavour, beyond the beef and a bit of coriander there was no key flavours, spices or herbs that really stood out, it wasn’t wrong it was just a bit boring.

Sides included fresh bean sprouts and basil, with a miserable looking cut up chilli, however there were lots of interesting side condiments with several variations of chilli sauces to mix it up.

So how Thanh Nga Nine stack up on phở? Not very well, but it’s also not the reason to visit. We recommend leaving the phở to the professionals but it’s definitely worth a visit for a more diverse Vietnamese meal.

1. Stock: 2 – Bland with no distinguishing features.
2. Inside: 3 – The meat was disappointing but the onion and coriander on top was a nice touch.
3. On the side: 3 – Everything was fresh, chilli was a little miserable looking.
4. Extras: 3 – Good service, decent ambiance and you will be back time and time again but not for the phở.

Score: 11/20

Thanh Nga Nine Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Co Do – Richmond

One of the finest Victoria Street has to offer

Pho Ga

Co Do - Victoria St

Pho Ga

Co Do has remained the one Vietnamese restaurant I’ve always been happy to cross town for, I’m not exactly sure why as it doesn’t do anything different, it just does everything really well. Also the sheer volume of unrelated friends and acquaintances that frequent Co Do is so disproportionately high that you know you are onto something special.This is a good place for a casual meal with friends for lunch and dinner but don’t expect too much ambiance as this place can get busy (and noisy) and is often packed with families.

The service here is significantly friendlier than pretty much any other Vietnamese restaurant on Victoria St or Footscray, the owner has the staff well trained and food ordering is prompt, friendly and efficient.

Co Do offers a full and diverse menu, pages and pages of all the Vietnamese classics, including all the usual soups and a few unique additions such as Hue style and several pork based stocks which are a break from the norms. The soups come in the usual 3 sizes Small $8, Medium $9 and Large $10.

I break tradition here and go the phở ga which is the chicken soup, not because the beef isn’t excellent (it is), I just think they do the chicken so incredibly well. The chicken fillet is completely bone free and is cooked to perfection; thickly sliced the quantity is suitably generous.

The chicken stock is very transparent and quite sweet, probably due to the vegetables its been cooked with, the flavour is quite unique and doesn’t taste like European chicken soup which adds to its charm.

The garnish on top of the soup is a combination of finely sliced red onion, spring onion and dried shallots which adds a little bit of crunch to the overall soup texture.

The sides are all fresh: bean sprouts, basil and wedges of lemon, with finely sliced chilli already on the table in a container (which I’m usually not in favour of as it reduces the hotness throughout the day).
The range of sauces is comprehensive including chilli sauce and oil, hoisin, soy and fish sauce, you won’t be disappointed.

A visit to Co Do won’t deliver you anything unique, but it will offer one of the most solid examples of Vietnamese food in Melbourne.

1. Stock: 4 – Sweet and transparent.
2. Inside: 5 – Perfect cut and quantity of chicken, the garnish adds a little something.
3. On the side: 3 – Everything was fresh, but pre-cut chilli was a big no-no.
4. Extras: 4 – Good service and amazing tea, but light on ambiance due to it being popular, I know I’ll be back.

Score: 16/20

Address :196 Victoria St
Richmond, VIC 3121

Co Do Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato