MissChu, the Queen of Rice Paper Rolls, has crossed the Harbour Bridge and opened her first tuck-shop north of the harbour. Welcome to Manly MissChu (hopefully you're next stop will be Parramatta - hint hint).
You'll find MissChu's latest venture just across the road from the bustling Manly Wharf...so like us, you can visit Manly for lunch without actually even looking at the beach. I was so excited about the promise of rice paper rolls that I totally forgot to go wiggle my toes in the sand.
There is ample seating inside the tuckshop but The Boy and I decide to perch on the teeny tiny chairs out on the footpath - mainly as I wanted to see if a) they could hold my ample weight and b) if I could get up once I got down (they did, and I could). I like a good challenge.
It's a lovely sunny day when we visit Manly and I'm happy to try the deliciously fresh and refreshing Frozen Young Coconut Crushies (normally $8.50 each but these were complimentary on the day). I opted for Lychee and The Boy chooses the Pineapple. There's also a banana version on offer and you can get your slushies with vodka if you so desire (we didn't desire).
The first dish we're given to try is the very very moreish Salt and Pepper Squid (normally $14.00 each but these were complimentary on the day). This is a special dish only available at the Bondi and Manly stores and it is so tasty that I'd definitely travel to have it again...and again. The squid was very tender and covered in a shatteringly crisp batter that was not at all greasy, as some dishes of this ilk can be.
At first we were just scoffing the squid "as is" but as we got towards the end of the plate I had a light bulb moment. Perhaps we were supposed to wrap a piece of squid in the accompanying perilla leaves, top with some pickled veggies and sweet Thai basil and then eat it? Judging by how much this elevated the flavours of the squid I'm suggesting this a good squid strategy. I love the fragrant, almost minty taste that the perilla leaves have and Thai basil is much less overpowering than the kind I've been growing on my balcony. Oh Boy! So good!
The next dish brought out for us to try is a serve of the delicious banh cuon to share (normally $12.00 but these were complimentary on the day). The menu refers to these as a "steamed long dumpling" and I'd say that's a pretty apt description. The savoury filling of traditional minced pork was wonderfully flavoursome. This is a light, but filling dish that I would happily eat again.
Now, most normally people would be full by now, and I guess I sort of was, but it would be silly to drive all the way from Parramatta and not indulge in a few more of our MissChu favourites.
We start with a petite serve of Peking Duck Pancake (2 for $7.00) and also try a serve of the delicately crunchy Prawn and Crab Net Spring Rolls (4 for $6.00). It would be remiss to visit the "Queen of Rice Paper Rolls" and go home without trying at least one rice paper roll wouldn't it? The Satay Chicken and Young Coconut Rolls (2 for $7.50) were light + fresh and I really noticed the different in a Laos style satay sauce over the Thai satay we're more used to in Australia - it's much less thick and creamy and has a good tomatoey under note that I enjoyed.
The always say leave room for dessert and it's a good thing the desserts that we were given we just bite-sized as I was starting to fill a bit...full!
Look, if I'm being honest my stomach could be exploding out of my pants and I'd still find room for anything that involves pandan and coconut. Wouldn't you? I loved this sweet, bite-sized pandan jelly topped with luscious coconut cream (normally $4.50 but these were complimentary on the day).
Our last dessert was a sticky rice topped with a soft type of sweet flan-ish type thing (normally $4.50 but these were complimentary on the day). How's that for a description? I'm sure it has an actual name but I don't know what it is. It was good, I can tell you that much.
MissChu's is at 5/54 West Esplanade, Manly. Phone them on 9976 3682.