Cousins Tien Tran, Kieu Nguyen and their friend Sophie Pham grew up waitressing in their families’ traditional Vietnamese restaurants. But though they’ve followed in their parents’footsteps, their restaurant, Maid Mice, is anything but traditional.
The name refers to the Chinese Zodiac sign shared by the women, who were born in The Year of the Rat. And, like the name, the space itself is full of personal touches, with hand-drawn chalkboard illustrations and shelves made from cherished childhood books.
Expect new takes on home-style Vietnamese dishes and classic flavours with a street food edge. Nem, a dense pork patty, is made from Nguyen’s mother’s recipe. Traditionally, it’s eaten on a stick, but here it’s served in burger form, along with a crunchy Asian slaw dressed with house-made nuoc cham and a side of fries.
Hearty claypot dishes and slow-cooked meats feature on the dinner menu, along with an array of rice and noodle dishes. A former vegetarian herself, Pham is able to adapt many of the menu items to suit the needs of vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free diners.
The restaurant is licensed, so you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to Friday night happy hour (6–7pm). The wine list showcases mainly South Australian varieties and crisp New Zealand whites with a smattering of French and Italian drops. Or give yourself over completely to the Asian experience with a Vietnamese lager, Japanese plum wine or a throat-burning shot of soju.