985 Doncaster Road
Doncaster East VIC 3109
+61 3 9841 8978
Back in Melbourne, I’m used to travelling across town just to get my Vietnamese fix. To me, taking a bus and then a train to go to Footscray for (imo) Melbourne’s best banh mi and pho was as normal as brushing my teeth twice a day. An efficient use of my time? Probably not. Worth it though? Hell, yes. These days though, I don’t have enough time in the day to spend two hours on the road just for 20 minutes of pho heaven. So when I heard that a Vietnamese restaurant was opening just 5 minutes from my house, you can imagine how excited I got.
In saying that, it took me an entire year to finally visit Three Red Stripes. Yes, a year. To be fair though, moving two states probably had something to do with it. But anyway. My visit comprised of a Sunday lunch with family – and by ‘family, I meant my parents, my siblings, two cousins, my aunty and husband, my cousin’s fiancé as well as his aunty and her husband. All in all, it was a large party.
I needed a bit of coffee to wake me up and a hot condensed milk-laced Vietnamese coffee did the trick.
We ordered a nice selection of your typical Vietnamese dishes, ranging from pho (beef and chicken) to rice dishes. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to sample many other dishes but judging by the resounding nods all over the table, I think we can assume that most dishes here pass the taste test.
My side of the table shared some fried prawn spring rolls; crispy and hot, they were a solid effort. I would have preferred a bit more prawn in my filling but then again, I’ve sort of come to expect scant flings in spring rolls when dining out anyway.
I decided to forgo the pho that my fellow dining buddies ordered, choosing the BBH instead. Three Red Stripes did a great version – the lemongrass and chilli ratio was spot on, and they were generous with the beef. There was also no sign of the block of pig’s blood jelly that you see in most BBH speciality restaurants, something that purists would probably not be thrilled with. As someone who isn’t a fan of pig’s blood jelly, however, I didn’t care. I wouldn’t go as far to say that this is the best BBH in Melbourne – it was a bit ‘clean’ and ‘too eastern suburb-y for me, where was the grittiness?! – but it’s good enough for Donny East.
My mother had the broken rice, another solid dish that ticked all the boxes, right down to the beautifully pickled carrots.
While I still prefer Footscray for its more ‘authentic’ Vietnamese food, Three Red Stripes is a much welcome addition to the Doncaster East food scene. We’re very lucky to have a decent splattering of Cantonese, Malaysian and Indian eateries serving authentic cuisine but we had been missing excellent Vietnamese restaurants for quite some time. Definitely one to go back to if you can’t be bothered driving to Richmond, Footscray or Springvale for a taste of Vietnam.