Fitzroy newcomer Rue de Thanh is a two-in-one package. At the front of the warehouse space diners can explore French-inspired Vietnamese dishes from a lengthy à la carte menu, while down the back there’s a 10-seat izakaya offering hibachi-grilled street eats.
The menu leans more Vietnamese than French, but plays with classic French-Vietnamese flavours. “I really enjoy the aspects of French food [in Vietnamese cuisine],” says executive chef Thanh Tran, who was formerly at Hawthorn’s St Cloud Eating House. “The most obvious thing is the baguette, but it even includes things like bo kho, which is a French beef stew.”
The influence continues in dishes including bo tai chanh, beef carpaccio served with sawtooth coriander and rice patty herbs, and diep pan, seared scallops with celeriac puree, crispy lap cheong and chilli oil.
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Head chef Thi Hong (Cindy) Nguyen grew up in northern Vietnam, and there are traces of the cool-climate region’s heartier dishes on the menu too. These include thit heo kho, pork belly braised for 12 hours in soy and coconut water, and canh ga duong thot not, twice-cooked chicken wings in fish caramel with sticky rice.
“Rue de Thanh” is French for “Thanh’s Street” and hints at Tran's love of street snacks. He jokes that the sizeable front restaurant exists to support his passion project – the 10-seat chef's table out the back. For $80 per head, guests can enjoy a meal of hibachi-grilled street eats.
Pull up a seat at the mountain-ash bar and try nine changing dishes – perhaps oysters grilled in their shell, beef wrapped in betel leaf, pork meatball skewers or DIY rice-paper rolls. The chef’s menu can be paired with minimal-intervention Australian wines or cocktails such as fermented pineapple Mai Tais or Long Island Iced Teas made with oolong, sake and Sichuan peppercorns.
Dietaries are easily catered for. The restaurant is mostly onion-, garlic- and gluten-free, and entirely dairy-free – with the exception of milk for coffee. If you’re in the area between 10am and noon, Tran welcomes walk-ins for a late-morning brew. So this two-in-one spot might really be a three-in-one.
Rue de Thanh
406 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy