During my week in the ‘City of Churches’, I caught up for an early mid-week dinner with a lovely bunch of Adelaide bloggers – The Natural Foodie, She Cooks She Gardens, The Hungry Australian, Playing House and Eating Adelaide. The gals suggested we eat at a newish Vietnamese restaurant and bar in North Adelaide, Gin Long Canteen.
Before we get started, let me tell you just how hot it was that day. When I arrived in South Australia, Adelaide was in the throes of a heatwave. The temperature topped a stifling FORTY-THREE degrees during the day and it wasn’t much cooler when we met at 6pm. Ouch.
The place was jammin’ on a Wednesday night and as diners have a sitting choice of 6pm or 8pm, they clearly turnover a lot of customers. The restaurant may have been full but it wasn’t so noisy that you couldn’t hear the conversation at your table.
The best way to kick things off in such extreme heat was with an ice-laden cocktail. I went with a Thai Queen Mojito with rum, Thai basil leaves and palm sugar syrup. It had such a great hit of flavours and was very refreshing.
Instead of working out what to order between the six of us we went for the banquet at $39 each. We advised the waitress that there were two vegetarians and then it was up to the kitchen to decide what we’d have. When it comes to food some people would prefer to know what they were getting but I like the idea of someone else taking charge so I get a surprise as the dishes arrive.
While most of the group shared a huge entrée meat platter, there were two dishes for the vegos to snack on. One was a bowl of crisp, flaky Malay curry puffs with spiced potato, onion and curry leaves. The other was a plate of netted spring rolls with vermicelli, carrot and glass noodles. The combination of the uncomfortable heat and the crunchy rolls reminded me of my visit to Vietnam where I often washed down lattice spring rolls with cold beer.
We had the early sitting of 6-8pm and as expected, the kitchen gets the dishes out fast. I was impressed with the variety of veg dishes – large plates of salads including a Vietnamese coleslaw, a chargrilled tofu salad and a mixed mushroom salad spotted on the specials blackboard. The dishes were fresh in flavour and offered a combination of soft and crunch, hot and cold – something I love about Vietnamese cuisine.
Usually I’m always keen for sweets but after finishing most of the mains we were all full and relieved when the waitress told us the banquet didn’t include dessert. Desserts and the rest of the cocktail list is something to try on my next visit!
I really liked Gin Long Canteen. In my book a Vietnamese restaurant must be pretty authentic when it makes my mind float back to my incredible visit to Vietnam.