There’s one dinner invite almost every chef and serious foodie wants in on – Monday nights at Angie Hong’s house. The former Thanh Binh owner and mother of Mr. Wong, Ms. G’s, and El Loco’s chef Dan Hong always puts on an epic Monday-night spread. It’s not just for her family but also for any chef, restauranteur or food writer lucky enough to be invited. Now you can experience it to.
Hong has joined Chantel Pham and Maria van Husen for a pop-up dinner service at their Surry Hills cafe, White Taro. “I retired three years ago. I wasn't doing any commercial dinners. I was just doing Monday Hong dinners at our place and I got a call from Chantel after my holiday,” says Angie Hong. Pham was asking for help and that’s exactly what she got. “If you want to get to a Monday Hong dinner this is the chance,” says Angie.
As any #mondayhongdinners followers on Instagram or Thanh Binh fans would expect, the short menu is almost entirely dominated by Angie Hong’s traditional Vietnamese fare. Classics such as bún chả (flame-grilled pork and vermicelli salad), DIY rice paper rolls and bò lúc lắc (shaken beef with a salt-and-pepper sauce) are done as well as they were at Thanh Binh. For the more curious, Angie is quick to suggest the hội an chicken rice, a famous central-Vietnamese dish that’s been riffed on here by spreading the ingredients over two servings; one bowl of shredded chicken and papaya salad, and another with turmeric rice, offal bits and flowers. “We all decided to do traditional Vietnamese food but the plating is modern, using a lot of micro herbs, flowers and stuff like that,” Angie says.
The menu will be changing constantly during the Angie Hong residency, but it’s reasonable to forecast a slight shift towards something a bit more experimental. “Now it’s more traditional. Angie likes cooking more authentic. We want to bring in more fusion,” Pham says. There’s already some hints with a lobster lavash tart and heavily marbled Wagyu scotch fillet served on top of a potato and taro gratin.
We’re not sure how long this will last, but it’s unlikely to be around for long. “I'm thinking of doing it until November and see how I go,” Angie says.
Dinners run Wednesday to Saturday from 6pm–9.30pm. To book call White Taro, (02) 9211 0108.