Taste Baguette – Vietnamese French (wait what?)
I must admit, I think I came to Taste Baguette for the wrong reasons. When I realised this is a Vietnamese cafe with a French spin to it I was quite curious as to see what they could come up with. I didn’t realise that it’s really a place where you can get Vietnamese food with French baked goods, with the common point being that you can get the very well-known Vietnamese rolls with French bread. So what did I do “wrong”? Well le friends and I visited to actually have their lunch food, instead of what they’re actually known for. How did that turn out? Read on…
Name: Taste Baguette
Date Visited: 22/09/2012
Address: 38-44 Foveux Street, Surry Hills 2010
Good for: likely the bread rolls
Not good for: good Vietnamese food
Go-to dish: the baguettes, I would imagine
So I don’t actually know the names for these dishes (though I know they exist) since the menu specifies them in English. I’d have preferred the traditional name coupled with an English description but oh well…
The curry is probably the best dish of the three we ordered. The curry itself is pleasant tasting (and looks quite nicely coloured) enough with the spicyness and heady aroma reminiscent of a red curry. However, it was a bit too runny.
The problem point was in the beef itself – it was quite tough and not very chewy. Almost like as if it were made out of tendon. Some people like that taste but that’s not many. Besides in the end, it’s not beef as it should be. Oh gawd, passable I suppose – I don’t have a problem with the vegetables after all.
I really, really like pho. It’s pretty much the introductory dish for me when I first tried Vietnamese cuisine. As such, it’s got a special place in my heart. The pho at Taste Baguette is not the best I’ve had. It’s about average, or somewhat below. The soup is quite nice but is very oily – far more than it needs to be. It’s always a concern when you see that much oil since it implies the chef is trying to mask something or trying to elicit the flavour of oil as the primary. Concerning.
The beef is, as is with the curry the biggest let down. Same criticisms apply – tough, tendon-like beef that just doesn’t have that meaty beefy taste to it. Dang, since that’s an integral part of it. I think they had bad beef in general today.
The pho noodles were a mixed bag. I felt like they were good, but I could taste the residue which is left on the tongue. Not sure if that’s normal. It probably isn’t.
Mmm that’s one big pork chop and good thing it is. I was quite hungry (even though I had brunch already – at Toast Cafe – yes same day!).
The rice and sauce drizzles were fine (which is to say spicy and sour as I’d have expected) but the pork chop was WAYYY too salty. Holy crap. I feel like to balance this out you’d have needed at least three times more rice. Or better, reduce the salt content! I think that may have been my daily intake of sodium right there. It’s unfortunate because if the salt content was reduced the chop would’ve tasted quite good – I could tell it was a fairly good cut of pork that got salted to oblivion. The one other thing to say here is that it wasn’t served as hot as I’d have liked it – despite the 20min+ service time (what were they doing?). Not too pleasant, but not too difficult to rectify either.
So I think I’ll visit Taste again, but to get their Viet baguettes which I hear so much about. If there’s one thing I love as much as pho it’s the rolls. Looking forward to that, but not their lunch food – there are plenty of other places in Surry Hills for that.
The Good: reputedly great Vietnamese-style baguettes
The Bad: the fact that I didn’t get to eat them, and chose inferior lunch food instead
I give Taste Cafe a grand total of six Caesars out of ten – 6/10