EIGHTEEN days of biblical rain and counting.
As I splashed through the puddles on Oxford Street, I felt like a slightly-overweight Noah, looking for bits of wood to make my ark, “Blue Origin II”.
As the rain became torrential, I sought refuge in Three Sisters Vietnamese Tuckshop, a cute little number at the quieter end of the street.
Sisters has just enough room for some bench seating beside the window and a few tables and chairs.
There’s also a pavement alfresco with bright floral tablecloths, adding a splash of colour to a grey and overcast Tuesday.
Like the cafe, the menu was small and to-the-point with a range of rice paper rolls, banh mi, noodle soups and salads, and rice bowls. I needed some winter comfort food, so I ordered the beef pho ($15.90).
Pho is like the clean-cut and well-behaved brother of the laksa, which can be more brash and full-on with its flavours and ingredients.
I’m a fan and prefer a subtle dish to one that bellows “Look at me, I’m very tasty!”
The quality of the thinly sliced beef in the pho immediately stood out; it was super tender and had a lovely pink hue in the middle.
I’ve lost count of the number of noodle soups I’ve eaten with tough, cheap cuts of meat.
The broth was equally impressive – fresh and clean with no greasy film on the surface – but the chef hadn’t compromised on flavour with plenty of depth and complexity in there.
Lurking at the bottom of the pretty Asian bowl was a serpentine mass of flat rice noodles, which were just the right firmness and helped bulk out the dish.
I liked how Sisters gave you a seperate bowl with a wedge of lemon and beansprouts, and a tub of chilli paste, letting you set your own heat level.
I gradually added more chilli as I went, until I felt a pleasant warm tingle on my lips. Perfect.
The only downside to a tiny cafe is being stuck beside some garrulous loud mouth with no volume control.
For the entire meal I had to endure a man telling his friend his life story – a fascinating tale of sheep farms and cow dung.
Thankfully the friendly and polite service made up for this, with my dish brought out quickly with plenty of smiles and chat.
Sisters is clearly popular with locals, who were queuing out the door on a wet Tuesday to get their Vietnamese lunchtime fix.
I was very impressed with the beef pho, and I’ve previously tried the banh mi (Vietnamese baguette) and spring rolls, which were just as tasty.
Three Sisters Vietnamese is a cute little joint that dishes up lovely food at great prices.
Well worth a visit.
Three Sisters Vietnamese Tuckshop
253A Oxford Street, Leederville
Closed Sundays threesistersperth.com.au
by STEPHEN POLLOCK