Sapa Hills 2
The other Sunday I was craving an udon from my local Japanese restaurant Samurai (home of the famous recession busting $15 dinner box with soup, entree, main and milkshake) but then I realised that it’s closed on Sundays. I wasn’t really interested in branching out to any other Japanese places so my cravings turned to pho. I was about to drag Gerard out to Victoria St when I remembered seeing what looked like a giant new Vietnamese restaurant on Glenferrie Road. We headed down the road and found Sapa Hills II, the sibling of Sapa Hills in Footscray which, from online reports, looks to be pretty popular.
Sapa Hills is brand shiny new. I don’t use shiny lightly, the restaurant is a huge space with clean, shiny decor. Definitely a much fancier surrounding than I’m used to when it comes to pho places. It was pretty quiet when we visited but to be fair I think it’d been open for less than a week. The service was friendly and very efficient. The menu was a little overwhelming, there are over 200 items which is a big departure from most pho places I’ve been to that have something closer to 10. Luckily we weren’t scared off and found some delicious sounding (and tasting) meals.
All up the food, atmosphere and service were great. I am really excited to finally have a good Vietnamese restaurant somewhere close that doesn’t require trying to park on Victoria St. I’ll definitely be back, I might just need to set aside some time to study the menu first.
Some days, you wake up and you just can’t be bothered doing anything. You can barely get out of bed, let alone make a decision as complicated as where to go to lunch. Luckily, Sapa Hills 2 had a five metre “grand opening” sign out the front, which was just enough to entice my sleepy head through the door. Usually when a restaurant, which looks like it seats about 100 people, only has four other diners there is something amiss. However, the place had just opened so we gave it the benefit of the doubt.
The menu was an onslaught of choice, with page after page of delicious, vaguely identifiable items. The choice was a little overbearing, but everything was very reasonably priced. The service was attentive (unsurprisingly), but the food did take a while to come out; that could probably be put down to teething problems. I want this place to do well, it’s very well priced and the food is good.
We both started with a san choi bao ($5 each) which was both completely unnecessary and completely delicious. The lettuce wasn’t a solid piece for either of us making picking it up difficult but this was probably a good thing in the end because there was far too much to eat in one lettuce roll up.
I gave in to my pho craving with the pho with sliced beef ($9). The only thing that disappointed me about this was that there were no beanshoots, chilli or lemon to add. Even without them though this was just what I needed. I may never need to make the (at least 5 minute) trek to Victoria Street for good pho again. Much rejoicing.
Gerard had the rice vermicelli noodles with hanoi style grilled pork ($11). When it appeared Gerard was a little confused about how to eat his meal but the waiter sensed the confusion and very helpfully explained the mixing process.
Gerard: So I was presented with what can only be described as a mountain of salad and vermicelli noodles. The mixing process which was supposed to involve mixing the salad, the noodles, the pork and the sauce together in a tiny little bowl, didn’t quite work out. Once I did manage to get the correct combination of ingredients together in the tiny bowl, it was delicious, with the tender pork being the stand out.