Lâm Lâm Vietnamese Restaurant, Northcote

Dave had gone to Leongatha to leave me alone on a Saturday night for the first time in a while. What should I do? Who should I call? I sat in Southern Reserve for 45 minutes, dismayed at first because I didn’t think I actually HAD anyone to call, and then I realised that all I needed to do was call someone. I dialled Helen and decided to gatecrash whatever she was doing.

She was hanging out with her sister, Sally, playing Mousetrap and drinking Sauvignon Blanc in the lounge room of her new place. After a quick tour, I settled on the floor next to Helen with a massive glass of cool wine and we just sat there chatting and blah blah blah… let’s get to the food.

Helen served an appetiser platter of seasoned pita chips with a crumbly Mersey Valley cheddar, a smoked cheese and best of all, PERSIAN FETA! And I think it was South Cape Persian Feta from the shops – SCORE! I’ll be picking up some of that on the next grocery run.

After a couple of drinks, we got fairly jolly and ventured out for food. We were sidetracked by the Peacock Hotel for a jug of Fat Yak, but soon got back on track with the illuminated Vietnamese restaurant across the road.

I wanted something light and fresh, so for starter, I wanted rice paper rolls. Sally insisted on the spring rolls, and I’m always up to try different things so we ordered a serving of prawn spring rolls.

The first thing that came out was a plate with half a head of lettuce and Vietnamese coriander (or hot mint), and a dishlette of thin, sweet but sour, chilli sauce. Ok, interesting twist on the typical spring roll.

Then the spring rolls came out, or should I say, spring flat things. The filling was almost non-existent, but when you wrap the flat roll with the fresh iceberg lettuce and viet-coriander and dip it in the sauce, it transforms into a crunchy, fresh snack with a spicy kick. YUM! Best spring rolls I’ve had in a long time.

Helen ordered the vegetarian Singapore Noodles. It looked like it played the part in terms of flavour, but after a sample, I was a little disappointed. To me, Singapore Noodles are rich and pungent with flavour and spice, but this was just a bit flat. Helen and Sally liked it though, and that’s what’s important.

Sally ordered the Chicken in Peking Sauce and it came out on a sizzle plate. The peking sauce was too sweet, but the chicken was cooked well and was neither dry or chewy. It was just so… so… glutinous. =(

I ordered the Calamari with Garlic and Spring Onion, expecting some sort of dry salt and pepper squid dish, but it came out wet on a sizzle plate. Damn… ordered the wrong thing. We were in a Vietnamese restaurant, and of the three main dishes we ordered, I could have at least been the one to order a proper Vietnamese dish. I felt like I was at a Chinese restaurant, eating sloppy stir fries laced with MSG. This dish was not only a mistake order, but a mistake in general.  The garlic and spring onion were clearly there in flavor but the calamari played a minor role of being plain ribbons of nothingness. Severely disappointing…

Lâm Lâm Vietnamese Restaurant was a disappointment. Despite the spring rolls, which were good because they were the closest thing to Vietnamese, the rest was cheap, poor quality food. BLeh!

Lâm Lâm on Urbanspoon

8 thoughts on “Lâm Lâm Vietnamese Restaurant, Northcote

  1. haha! you're criticism will totally not stop people coming back. but the calamari that you wanted i had it once before at lam lam its called the crispy calamari with spicy salt, and it was awesome. you better find out what you want in more detail before bullshitting about a perfectly good restaurant that has good food trying to make money for their family. and plus the food your friends order, its their god damn chose! its not yours if they liked it good for them but if you dont say anything. this review really disappoints me :(

  2. I went to the restaurant recently and I completely agree with the review – it is cheap, poor quality chinese food. Some previous rice paper rolls have been 'ok' in terms of freshness but my recent meal just confirmed my dislike of 'chinese take away'. My spring rolls had been cooked and sitting on the bench for at least 15mins before we got them and the main noodle vegie dish was mush and lacked any hint of sauce – we threw it out. I spent $30, the man before me spent $170 (family of 8). You should get what you pay for ie; Vietnamese food but some people don't know the difference and unfortunately restauranteurs know this…

  3. Thanks for the review.

    One thing to note is that an authentic Vietnamese Spring roll is always served with lettuce and mint and/or coriander leaf rather than being “Ok, interesting twist on the typical spring roll.”

    • Hey no worries!

      I had no idea that Vietnamese spring rolls were served with the lettuce and herbs. I prefer it that way than to just having spring rolls on their own! So much fresher =D

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