When you have to book 2 months or more to get a weekend dinner booking you are eating at a restaurant that has already passed all of the tests!
Simply put, Red Lantern is the best Vetnamese restaurant in Australia,maybe the world!
Yes, all the simple things are on this menu, just that they are done better than anyone else does them.
The story is an amazing one. Luke Nguyen was born in 1978 in Thailand, shortly after, his parents and elder siblings fled Vietnam as boat people. After spending a year in a Thai refugee camp, his family eventually settled in Sydney.
In Sydney he has risen to become Australia's most respected Vietnamese chef, winning award after award. In his two restaurants in partnership with Aussie and brother-in-law Mark Jenson, the very best Vietnamese food is presented.
The menu has all the old favourites, just that they are done better than anywhere else.
Goi Coun, soft rice paper rolled with Tiger prawns, free-range pork, vermicelli, perilla leaves and garlic chives or the vegetarian version with sweet papaya, daikon and herbs. There is also another version this time with pork and duck terrine, vermicelli, cabbage and pickled carrot.
For something very different Goi Du Du, twice cooked pork belly, tiger prawns, green papaya, perilla and mint or Goi Vi Ung Khoi Tra, tea smoked duck breast with pickled vegetable salad. Also an incredible Goi Bo Xao, wok seared Black Angus beef, with tamarind, beetroot, daikon and carrot.
Again with the mains old favourites [also better than anywhere else] such as Banh Khoai Mon deep fried white kumera and sesame seed dumplings filled with Asian mushrooms. finished with cabbage and herb salad.
Suon Nuong is char grilled free range pork loin chops marinated in fish sauce, honey, lemongrass and shallot oil. Cari De is an unusual but great Goat Curry cooked in turmeric and coconut milk.
The ambrosial Bo Kho is made with pasture fed Wagyu beef braised with Vietnamese spices, tomato paste and chilli. Ga Chien Don is crisp skin Burrawong pasture raised chicken poached in master stock with ginger and oyster sauce.
Even the desserts are worth a try! Specially the Banh Cam Mang Cau, sesame and rice flour dumplings filled with sour sop and served with black sesame ice cream.
Dishes that are marked Gluten-free are always prepared that way, whilst others are marked as optional.