Northsiders, westsiders and city dwellers, rejoice! Everyone’s favourite Vietnamese Uncle has expanded, recently opening a second outpost on Collins Street.
When it came to expanding their empire, Rene Spence and Dai Duong knew that it had to be another Uncle. Having perfected the concept down in St Kilda, it was high time to share it with more than just the south side. And so began their journey to the CBD – after 20 site inspections around town, they found their ideal spot in 15 Collins Street. Fast forward a few months and Uncle Collins Street was born, delivering bright colours, a fun approach to service and most importantly, delicious culinary offerings.
Just like its St Kilda sister, the CBD outpost also welcomes you with a staircase. Take the plunge and you’ll be rewarded with a concept that’s both similar and foreign – the same fun and fast approach pervades the space, but Rene and Dai have taken it up a quarter-notch, reflecting their spot on the Paris end of the street.
Head Chef Dai has created a new menu that reflects this balance between old and new, incorporating some of their signature dishes, but also delivering something completely different. The lime-cured Hapuka betel leaf, pig’s ear banh mi and chicken tenderloin steamed bao have made the move north, but plates like Mum’s chay spring rolls with iceberg and fermented bean curd dipping sauce, and pan-seared barramundi with glass noodles, tamarind caramel, tomato and grilled pineapple salad haven’t appeared before.
This new menu has also allowed Dai to experiment with traditional ingredients. He has barrel-aged fish sauce for about four months, and used it to put a spin on what one could call a Vietnamese caprese salad – burrata, heirloom tomatoes, pickled papaya, Thai basil, puffed wild rice and barrel-aged fish sauce.
Stop by at lunch to join the relaxed corporate crowd chomping down on a young rice prawn banh mi with avocado puree, sriracha mayo and dill, or pop by after work to feast on the Feed Me menu – whatever you choose, it’s guaranteed to be good. Pair your plates with a beer or snow cone and you’ll be grinning from ear to ear – just as Uncle would have wanted.