November 6, 2013

Rear 445 Swanston Street (enter via Stewart Street), Melbourne
Many of you may have noticed that the blog has been rather neglected for a little while. Suffice to say that things have been busy and something had to give. The silver lining on all of this is that there are lots of lots of amazing places I’ve yet to write about (but will soon), including Rockpool, Mama Baba, Chignon Taqueria, B’Stilla, Bowery to Williamsburg, Meatmother and plenty more! So I really have my work cut out for me, and you have plenty of new posts to look forward to!
First, a post that I should have written some months ago, to introduce the latest addition to the Roll’d empire, their store in the new RMIT building on Swanston Street. I was very kindly invited to eat here by the owners, who gave myself and H a taste of some of the treats their menu has to offer. I’m a huge fan of Vietnamese food. I love how fresh and light the food is, the liberal use of Vietnamese mint, and the quirky French influence from colonial times, most notably seen in the baguettes used for banh mi.

The shop has been designed to let in maximum natural light, with floor to ceiling windows, and a colourful, youthful vibe with industrial red and white stools, hanging pot-plants and a yarn feature wall. Beware the pot-plants though, some are very low hanging and I managed to hit my head twice (admittedly I am not the most graceful of people).

They also have these very cute knitted words on the back wall, I didn’t get a chance to ask what they meant, but they looked great as a feature.

The menu at Roll’d is hawker style Vietnamese street food, and there are plenty of yummy options available. Banh mi, rice paper roll ‘soldiers’ and spring rolls all beckon. And of course it’s difficult to go past a classic bowl of Pho, a heartening soup with noodles and your choice of beef or chicken.

We selected a few items off the menu to share, and they were quickly put together by the staff. The service here is very quick and cheery, and perfectly suits the local student population. It also means that while the food is quick to come out, it’s being freshly cooked and assembled for you.

First up, we couldn’t go past some of their rice paper roll soldiers. They have a fantastic range of options, just choose from barramundi, BBQ chicken, prawn + pork, soft shell crab, omelette or tofu. I’ve come back separately and tried the barramundi and prawn + pork (delicious), but on our first visit we went for the BBQ chicken and the soft shell crab.

Both were pleasingly filling, tightly rolled and fantastically matched with a classic nuoc mam dipping sauce. I have walked down from uni on several occasions to get a box of these for lunch: you can get two and a mini cup of pho plus an iced tea for just under $12.

Next up, a brilliant version of the classic banh mi, a french-style baguette stuffed with cold cut pork, pate, pickled cucumber, chilli, homemade mayonnaise and fresh coriander. It’s meaty and chewy and crusty all at once and it’s fantastic to get on the go and chow down on while tramming out of the city. This was one of the best versions of banh mi I’ve had.

We ended on another winner with ‘the B.’ – a big bowl of warm vermicelli noodle salad with spring rolls, vegies, a classic nuoc mam dressing and some fried shallots. I’ve subsequently returned to have this with BBQ chicken, and it’s great to mix everything together into a warm spicy/sweet mess and then dig in.

Suffice to say, having heard about the success of Roll’d in other locations in the city, I am thrilled that they’re now so close to uni. I’ve been down for lunch several times since, and have enjoyed every visit. I highly recommend you give it a try, and I’m sure, like me, you’ll be back for seconds!

Roll'd on Urbanspoon

Filed under: Melbourne CBD, Vietnamese