I LOVE a good story behind the name of a restaurant and Phi Yen didn’t disappoint.
It means Flying Swallow and was the nickname given to owner Yen Dang when she was a little girl in Vietnam.
She and husband Tuan operate the Northbridge eatery on the corner of Brisbane and Lake Streets, situated on the fringe of Perth’s entertainment precinct.
Vietnamese restaurants seem to have taken a back seat to Thai and Indian of late, so the D’Angers were very happy to stumble across Phi Yen on a recent excursion.
We kicked off by having the cha gio phi yen ($9) as a shared entree.
It’s a variation on a familiar theme and the seafood spring roll was coated in bread crumbs and deep fried.
The hot and crispy entree was a real hit with chunks of moist fish and a medley of vegetables inside.
The dipping sauce was salty and pungent; a great substitute for the sweet chilli sauce you usually get with spring rolls.
Service at Phi Yen is swift and efficient, and the last mouthful of the entree was still being chewed when the mains arrived.
The stir fried Hu Tieu Hay Mi Xao Chay noodles ($17.50) had a pleasant charred flavour.
They were interlaced with an abundance of vegetables including sweet red capsicum, meaty mushrooms, crunchy broccoli, firm tofu, snow peas and wilted bok choy.
We also shared a hu tieu hay mi xao do blen ($19.50), basically seafood noodles.
The flat noodles soaked up the flavoursome, oily sauce and the chunky pieces of fish and squid were sweet and tender.
The prawns were some of the sweetest and tastiest I’ve eaten, which left me happy D’Angerous Dave doesn’t like them, as there were only two in the dish.
The small dessert menu was tempting, especially the chuoi chung (fresh banana cooked in coconut cream sauce with sago and topped with crushed peanuts $6.90), but we were too full to fit another morsel in.
by JENNY D’ANGER
Corner Brisbane and Lake St, Northbridge
Open Tues–Sun lunch and dinner, Mon 5–10pm