There are so many great looking casual restaurants in Melbourne that you need an enhanced memory, or method of remembering, to note them all down for future return visits. Master Roll Vietnam fits into this category nicely.
A few weeks ago Catherine and I were walking along Toorak Road when we passed by, after breakfast, on our way to dessert! The modern Vietnamese eatery, using clean and minimalist décor, with an eye catching logo, made an impact.
Knowing the main game was catching Spectre at the Como Centre, my mate Simon and I wanted a quick lunch that was good quality. Some brief research that morning revealed that the sleek design translated into popular Vietnamese cuisine, with a line to boot. On that guidance we decided to meet at midday to beat the rush and we had done just that, with little time to spare.
To get a small spectrum of the offerings we tried both the grilled chicken and crispy roast pork bahn mi. To start we shared a serve of the duck rice paper rolls. Everything here is reasonably priced, but with competition down the road from another Vietnamese bakery, not to mention the number of places like Roll’d popping up, you need to do better than just that. And it was.
I was a little surprised because having my first bite of the roast pork bahn mi, there was the usual distinct flavours coming from the pate and pickled vegetables, but the pork really shone. It was generous and delicious with a good amount of crackling making the saltiness perfect. Then I tried the grilled chicken and somehow it was bettered by a small margin. The rolls are a nice quality, but I think that might be the main point of improvement.
The duck rice paper rolls are good, but I think I need to lower my expectation on the quality of duck you get in relatively cheap rice paper rolls because it is not amazing. The wrapper was firm around the duck and other usual ingredients, but I think the pre-wrapped nature means the duck dries a little and I think the only way around that is to do it fresh and incorporate the hoi sin sauce into the roll rather than have it as a dipping sauce.
I often have a craving for a great bahn mi and as well as being the shortest walk from my place, Master Roll Vietnam is also of such a quality that those cravings are unlikely to subsist any time soon.