When a girlfriend of mine suggested this Asian eatery on Victoria St for some dinner and wine before a night out, I sneakily checked my Urban Spoon app and was pleasantly surprised to see rave reviews and an 86% rating (I try not to go anywhere with less than 75-80% if I can).
I was even more pleasantly surprised that this ended up being one of the yummiest Asian meals I have had out of Asia. I enjoyed it so much I am already planning on visiting again in the next fortnight.
We were seated upstairs in a very full and noisy room which reminded me of Shanghai Dumpling House. There is something enjoyable about that kind of atmosphere. We shared two bottles of BYO wine at $2 a head which was very reasonable. Being able to drink your own wine definitely helps keep it a budget friendly dinner!
Appearance wise, Binh Minh was your usual cheap Asian restaurant- very busy staff who have no time for customer service whatsoever, baskets of cutlery on the table and plastic tables/plates. However the menu had a lot more variety than most Asian restaurants I have been to, featuring a huge range of Vietnamese, Malaysian and Thai dishes.
I was highly amused by the water jugs on the table- just your standard, kitchen stock measuring jugs!
The homemade dim sims ($1 each) were the most interesting dim sims I had ever tried. Stuffed with tasty mince, biting into it gave you an immediate but subtle chilli hit also. It seems as though there had been a tiny amount of chili sauce inserted in the top, also giving them a very funny appearance!
My girlfriend enjoyed her sang choi bow... such a messy thing to eat, but also so yummy!
I couldn't go past the salt and pepper tofu ($11). I am one of those weird people who love tofu despite also being a rabid carnivore. I enjoy the taste and texture of it. This didn't disappoint- crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, accompanied by a tasty salt and pepper sauce and plenty of yummy toppings. This is my kind of dish and I was shattered that it was too big for me to finish it!
At my friends recommendation we also got some of vegetarian fried rice ($7)- she loves the fried rice there so much she has that and that only as her meal. I shared this one with my other friend. I am normally a steamed rice girl, but I am glad I strayed away this particular evening. This fried rice was fresh and tasty, chock full of perfectly cooked vegetables. It was fabulous.
Overall, this was probably the best value food I have eaten in Melbourne. Although some other blogs seem to view it as Westernised Asian food, I personally would compare the quality to some of the great food available in the food courts in Malaysia. Whether or not it is authentic, it was tasty and fresh and very more-ish. I can't wait to visit again and work my way through the menu. As a lover of Asian food, I highly recommend this awesome eatery for a cheap and tasty night out. There was also some really cool private dining rooms for big groups that looked like a great venue for a special occasion dinner.