YOU wouldn’t guess it was the same street. Bradley Street that is, on the eastern side of Westfield Woden.
The place was buzzing with people enjoying drinks and food and walking among the large trees lit up with fairy lights. What a massive improvement and welcome to Canberra’s newest eating destination.
The Bavarian was packed, Fenway Public House was packed, Sushi Musa busy and Espresso Warriors pumping out coffees. We landed at 14 North 108 East to dig into Vietnamese dishes.
The mural along one wall is bold, beautiful and bright and a great spot to snap a selfie or two.
The compact menu features small dishes, large dishes, salads, sides and desserts, with a “Leave it to me” option for $59 for those who can’t decide but are ready for a great feed.
B Hai’s plump mussels (three for $9) swam in yummy garlic butter sauce with lemon and was a delish start (we felt they were a bit sweet, but that’s a personal preference).
We adored the whole king prawns in green rice flake coating with pork paste and lemon – amazing crunch on the outside and the prawns juicy as.
One of our fave small dishes was the barbecued beef and pork wrapped neatly in betel leaf ($15). The skewers have a smoky flavour, having been cooked over open coals.
Large dishes are also designed to share and we recommend the silky salmon tartare (at first we felt the salmon was a bit bland but the taste builds). The gigantic sesame rice crackers were amazing looking on the plate and amazing tasting ($19). So tactile.
The sliced eggplant pot ($18) didn’t disappoint and is a generous serve, with tofu and mushrooms marinated with traditional sauces.
We weren’t so fussed on the Asian greens, wok tossed with garlic oyster sauce ($8). They were a bit limp and not the bright green one usually sees with Asian greens dishes.
Wines are acceptably priced but only one lonely Canberra wine features (Clonakilla riesling, $13 a glass and $60 a bottle). Tasty cocktails include the Mekong Market Mojito ($18).
Next time, on our Vietnamese culinary escape, we’ll only order a couple of dishes at a time so we’re not so rushed with dishes arriving in quick succession. Staff check in regularly and are eager to please.
One tip? Turn the inside lights down a bit at night. Whoa!
We’ll be back to road test the other eateries along “the strip” and enjoy the “new life Woden”.
14 North 108 East, Bradley Street, Woden. Open seven days.