Darby Street's Vietnamese restaurant gets a fresh look
Darby Street’s only front-facing tropical courtyard restaurant has had a bit of a facelift and it’s well worth checking out.
VietKing on Darby Street has been gracing our local foodie scene for over 14 years and with the new owner, Dr. Phi Yen Phan taking over in August this year, the Vietnamese restaurant continues with its traditional favourites and brings with it a whole new modern energy.
Originally from Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam’s south, Dr Phi Yen Phan has called Newcastle home for the past nine years and has been seen managing some of our city’s takeaway Vietnamese restaurants before taking over VietKing.
“VietKing has been here for 14-15 years. I came here regularly as a customer because the food was really good. The idea came to my mind, I wanted to improve this place. I want there to be at least one really good Vietnamese restaurant here in Newcastle, and I want to further promote Vietnamese cuisine and culture.
“I love cooking and that is part of the reason I took over the restaurant. I have a passion for cooking and sharing Vietnamese cuisine and culture. It’s not related to my study, but I just love it,” Dr. Phi Yen Phan said.
Reopening on the 1st of September, VietKing was reborn with a refreshed logo, decked-out space, and loaded menu featuring some original dishes and a bunch of new traditional and modern dishes.
“So far, it’s going really well. I’ve received some really great feedback from our customers. They’re enjoying the new fitout and decorations and the refreshed menu.”
The courtyard has been transformed into an inviting tropical oasis, complete with Vietnamese decorations.
“I want people to walk past and think, wow that looks nice, and come in and give us a try. The look of the restaurant has completely changed and so has the menu.”
Step inside and the inviting restaurant space has pieces from Vietnam dotted throughout, transporting you to the streets of Vietnam.
If you’ve been a long-time visitor to the Darby Street Vietnamese restaurant, you’ll be glad to hear that the menu still features most of the original dishes, but now with plenty more authentic dishes for you to try.
“I’ve brought a lot more traditional Vietnamese meals to the menu. Some very popular dishes like the square crab spring rolls and vermicelli noodle dishes.
“We have a section called VietKing’s Signature and these are dishes that are very popular from all the different regions across Vietnam.”
Vietnamese cuisine differs depending on what region you’re referring to, but VietKing has brought all of the region’s key dishes together in its extensive menu.
“The VietKing menu can be considered as a combination of different flavours. For example, salt from the North, sweet from the South, and spicy from the middle.”
Popular dishes on the menu include VietKing’s Signature Crispy Pancake, Spicy Beef Noodle Soup, and Grilled Pork with fine rice Vermicelli.
“The Spicy Beef Noodle Soup is a really unique dish for Newcastle. It’s from the middle of Vietnam and many people like it. It’s a completely new dish for Newcastle.”
VietKing’s new menu also boasts a collection of Vietnamese Traditional Meals – combining vegetables, soup, a main dish, and steamed rice. The top picks? The Caramelised Pork, Chicken & Cashew Nut, or the Lemongrass & Chili Calamari.
“In Vietnam, steamed vegetables and caramelised fish sauce are really popular. You’ll see this on every menu in Vietnam. This is another new one for Newcastle. When I added it to the menu, I didn’t think we would get too many orders because it’s unique, but some people do like trying something new and different.”
The dessert menu features a collection of unique flavours including Deep-fried Ice-Cream, Vietnamese Coconut Taro Sweet, and Tofu Pudding.
Dr. Phi Yen Phan has a background in management and tertiary research but is incredibly passionate about sharing not only Vietnamese cuisine with Newcastle but also Vietnamese culture.
“I want to promote Vietnamese culture. We will hold festivals and celebrations here for every special Vietnamese holiday throughout the year.”
Drop by Darby Street’s tropical oasis and experience the very best in Vietnamese cuisine at VietKing.