The masterminds from Quaff and Feast of Merit have teamed up to create the two-storey Vietnamese restaurant - St. Cloud Eating House. Set on the slightly industrial landscape of Burwood road, the former bedding store is a breath of fresh air. Bringing modern Vietnamese fusion to the eastern 'burbs, the two levels feature kitsch artwork, bright decor and a rooftop area decked out with a lush garden. The quirky surroundings are topped off with excellent attentive service, ensuring everyone has a good time.
The menu focuses on providing fresh and vibrant Vietnamese cuisine, incorporating a mix of traditional and contemporary dishes. The lunch specials and banquets offer great bang for your buck and vegans and gluten-free dietaries are also well catered for. The impressive cocktail list includes real Asian flavours, including Thai basil and ginger. We sipped on the prettiest bevs - the Lady Boi with vodka, blueberry liqueur, peach liqueur, lemon, egg white and ruby grapefruit, and the Ho Chi Gin with tequila, gin, mandarin, jackfruit, violet liqueur, crushed ice and frozen berries.
Borderline overwhelming, the food menu is extensive but Pham's Classics was our easy pick - a banquet option for $55 (minimum 2 people) which makes all the hard decisions for you! We started with the seriously sticky chicken wings doused in fish sauce caramel and paired with sticky rice cubes. The other two starters included the bánh khot turmeric and coconut pancakes and the prawn and pork loin rice paper rolls served with tamarind and chilli dipping sauce. Then came the caramel pork belly with soft egg, pickled chilli, spring onion, black pepper and crackling. The pork was cooked to such tender perfection that it slid and fell off our forks. The flavours were intense but balanced perfectly with light sides of rice and salads, including the Vietnamese slaw and papaya kimchi.
We finished on a sweet note with Vietnamese coffees, traditionally made with sweetened condensed milk, and a devilishly dense chocolate and almond brownie, with peanut praline and chocolate mousse. The whole experience was like a dream as we floated out the door on cloud nine, full and content.