The blueprints of Miss Chu have always been worth reproducing. This excellent Vietnamese canteen first appeared in Darlinghurst in 2009, a lantern-adorned pit stop that made the best rice paper rolls I’d ever had. It’s since had many spin-offs – in Melbourne, Circular Quay, Bondi – and its latest branch opened on Monday in Sydney’s CBD, near the commuter-heavy hub of Town Hall Station.
Not only is it in an easy-reach spot, but the new tuckshop at Regent Place is also handy for anyone who keeps a panicky watch on their gadget’s declining battery levels – the canteen has chargers for iPhones and laptops for diners to plug into. Also notice-worthy: the whimsical lights made from noodle bowls, the fact you can get order booze here (it’s licenced) and the fact the specials board offers picks that make it hard to stick to all the great Miss Chu staples you like to autopilot order.
Off-menu items include Banh Cuon rice-flour crepes ($12), with minced pork and wood ear mushroom or vegan fillings; a chicken or “Buddha” (vegan) curry ($15) as well as Roast Pork Ling Banh Mi, which my friend Al describes as “bloody good”; you can also get a vego banh mi with rolled omelette, salad and a chilli kick that’s just as unrestrained. The dessert of the day – Coconut Mousse in Pandan Leaf ($4) – was an unexpected flashback to childhood; this was the kind of sweet that my family would make when I was growing up (and brattishly wishing for burgers and other fast-food grease instead).
I really like that you can zip in, load up on quality street food (right in the middle of the city) and walk out with a Lychee Mint Slushie. And bless Miss Chu for offering a language lesson to go with your meal (as the chalkboard notes: “Pho” is not phonetic, it’s pronounced like “fur”). The menu is a winner, but I wonder if $9 is a tad pricey for banh mi, which usually costs a handful of change – that’s my only semi-criticism. I’m glad the tuckshop’s in such a handy spot and it’s also open until 9.30pm if you need to sneak in an easy dinner on your way home from work. Another location, another tuckshop – Miss Chu is a cloning experiment I’m happy to endorse.