On one of the recent very hot Melbourne days B and I decided to avoid doing any cooking and try one of the new restaurants to open on Smith Street recently – Xeom Street Food. Xeom does Vietnamese street food and the restaurant is brightly lit and welcoming. The walls are lined with jars, bottles and faux-propaganda posters and there are even a couple of tables set up like little carts.
The menu is divided into sharing dishes and larger dishes, with all the Vietnamese favourites like rice paper rolls (or sexy rolls as they’re called here!), pho and vermicelli salads accounted for. There is also a range of coleslaws, broken rice dishes and vietnamese pancakes, as well as a short but adequate drinks list.
B and I decided to start with a Vietnamese beer each, the Saigon 333 ($7.50 each) while we perused the menu and made our decisions.
As usual we decided to share a few dishes, and we started things off with the Tofu & Avocado Sexy Rolls ($6 for 2) which came with a satay dipping sauce and peanuts. These were an good way to start as they were fresh and flavourful with a good mix of ingredients. They could have packed a bit more of a flavour punch with some herbs or a stronger flavoured tofu but the dipping sauce definitely helped. Nevertheless we did still enjoy these!
Next up we ordered the Tofu, Veggies and Spring Rolls Vermicelli Noodle Salad ($13) which came with a mix of veggies and a fresh, slightly spicy sauce. The tofu and spring rolls were both deliciously crispy which worked really well with the slippery noodles and finely sliced carrot and lettuce. I’m always a fan of vermicelli noodle salads and this was no exception, and definitely the perfect option on a rather warm evening.
We also shared the Vegetarian Crispy Vietnamese Pancake ($14.80), which when it arrived was not what I expected at all! We were presented with a huge platter containing the crispy pancake which was filled with mushrooms, sprouts, tofu and capsicum as well as a huge pile of fresh lettuce and herbs, as well as a dipping sauce.
I’m not going to lie, B and I weren’t immediately sure how to go about eating this, but once we dove in and gave it a crack we were very happy campers. The cooked veggies within the pancake combined with the abundance of fresh herbs were really delicious and the range of textures on the platter really appealed to me. We may have made a rather huge mess eating it but it was worth it! To be honest I’m still not sure we ate it correctly, but we enjoyed it nonetheless!
Despite not being one to usually eat dessert at Asian restaurants we decided to share the one dessert they have on their menu – Three Colour Dessert ($5.40). I wasn’t really sure what it was we had ordered, but I definitely wasn’t expecting it to be more like a drink than an actual dessert! This was a coconut milk drink with mung beans, red beans and green jelly (hence the three colour name!). I quite liked the coconut milk part however I was reminded pretty quickly that these kinds of drinks aren’t really my thing as I find the texture a little off-putting (but then I have a weird thing about some textures!). B enjoyed it a little more than I did, but it’s not the kind of thing I would probably order again!
Despite the fact I should have asked more questions before ordering the dessert we had a great meal and would definitely go back to try more of the menu. It’s a great spot for a quick, affordable meal in a nicely designed restaurant. It’s currently cash only which we didn’t realise until just before we went up to pay, so do be warned of that to avoid a quick dash to the ATM like we had to do!