On Thursday night The Boy and I decide to head into Parramatta to check out Parramasala – a South Asian Arts festival.
As part of the festival the council is putting on a market in the Church Street mall, with performers, market stalls and a few Indian food stands. We’re totally psyched to go and experience a bit of Indian culture.
As we start walking up to Church Street to check out the food and festivities it starts raining…of course!
As neither of us fancy hanging out in the rain we jump on a bus and although heading out to an Indian cultural festival we decide we’ll grab some quick and tasty Vietnamese from Pho Pasteur.
|Famous in Vietnam|
There are actually two Pho Pasteur’s in Parramatta and we avoid the one at the bottom of Westfield and head to the original Parramatta restaurant on Church Street.
This place is always packed and it looks like we might not get a table. Oh no!
Lucky for us there’s a table for two right at the very back of the restaurant. The Boy tells me he feels like we’ve been sent to the naughty corner.
|Tray of goodies|
This leads to more agonising as neither of us are really sure of what to order as the menu is HUGE and I’m a bit unsure of some of the dishes on offer. I do know I want to avoid anything that says ‘tripe’, ‘blood’ or ‘raw’ so that narrows the choices down a fraction.
Pictures of various dishes on the walls and a second, supplementary, picture menu that has to be crossed reference with the original words-only menu confuses the hell out of me.
I’m starting to stress out so we quickly grab the waitress and place an order before I have a full blown meltdown due to too many options.
To kick things off we’ve decided on Fresh Rice Paper Rolls ($7.50).
|Fresh rice paper rolls|
We very democratically divide the third roll in half so everything is even Stephens.
Next up is the Sugar Cane Prawn on Vermicelli Sheets ($14.00). I have no idea what a Vermicelli Sheet is and none of the pictures around the restaurant or on the menu give me a clue. I’m intrigued.
Before any food actually arrived on our table a plate filled with lettuce leaves, mint and bean shoots arrives, along with a nuoc cham dipping sauce arrived.
|Lettuce goodies for...something?|
I need to clarify with our waitress if this plate of fresh goodies is for our fresh spring rolls or the sugar cane prawns. She advises the lettuce is for the Sugar Cane Prawns. Good to know as I was about to wrap up the fresh spring rolls in lettuce which I’m sure would’ve had the other diners at Pho Pasteur shaking their heads at me.
Our plate has two plump and juicy prawn paste patties skewered on sugar cane stick. They sit atop a thick square bed of vermicelli noodles, topped with chopped shallots, crushed peanuts and some pickled vegetables. The whole thing looks like two fat ladies on top of a white squiggly mattress!
|Two fat prawn ladies|
I grab a lettuce leaf and pile a little bit of everything inside. The Boy and I agreed that this is definitely not first date food. I’ve got food in my hair, hair in mouth and sauce dripping out of my poorly rolled lettuce leaf. I leave the restaurant with a big stain on my lap! Classy.
|Roll your own = fail|
My favourite part of this dish is chewing on the sugary sweet sugar cane after I’ve stripped it bare of all it’s prawny goodness. I end up with sugar cane juice running down my chin and thank god The Boy is blinded by his love for me and the Combination Hot Pot with Steamed Rice ($15.00) that has just landed in front him.
|The Boy's other love|
After we’ve finished dinner we wander back to Church Street to see what is going on with Parramasala. Even though it’s still raining we’re transfixed by the live Indian music, festive crowds and amazing light show on the lovely old Town Hall building.
Pho Pasteur is at 137 Church Street, Parramatta.