Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Lido Restaurant, Northbridge, Western Australia (Alissa and Don Eat Australia)

Never try to just pop into a Chinese restaurant the weekend of Chinese New Year. Alissa and I left the house with the intention of trying the yam duck at Fitzgerald Seafood Restaurant only to find the place packed and fully booked due to Chinese New Year celebrations. Thankfully, the North Perth/Northbridge area is overflowing with many restaurants on our wishlist and given that we weren't dressed for some of the more high end places in the area we decided that Lido Restaurant in Northbridge was a good alternative.

My usual Northbridge Vietnamese restaurant of choice is Tra Vinh, however I've heard good things about Lido over the years and having seen them mentioned in The West's Good Food Guide, we thought it would be worth a shot. When we arrived the place was already busy and mostly booked out, though we were able to score the last table outside. In spite of sitting in the outdoor area, the reasonably cool summer night made it quite comfortable. Lido definitely was cleaner and more upmarket than some of the other Vietnamese restaurants in town (or in Vietnam for that matter), and I joked our chairs should actually be low stools for the authentic Vietnamese experience.

We decided on two entrees, though due to hunger we only photographed one of them. Stuffed Chicken Wings are one of my favourite dishes to order at Vietnamese restaurants and these ranked up there as one of the best examples of this dish that I've tasted. The batter was nice and crispy, and the filling generous in quantity and flavour. A real winner. The second entree was a plate of meat spring rolls that sadly was not as great. I think we were possibly expecting something amazing like the nem cua served with bun cha, but instead these were basically the stuffing from the chicken wings in spring roll form. I probably would have preferred another plate of the chicken or tried something else.

Not feeling like pho and with no bun cha on the menu, Alissa and I decided to share two of their recommended mains with serves of steam rice. The Tom xao toi ot (stir fried prawns with chilli and garlic) were the first to arrive, and immediately made us think of Ha Long Bay - and the stinginess of the prawns served at Copper Castle in India. These were thankfully a far cry from Copper Castle's tiny shrimp - these were big, succulent prawns that were cooked to juicy perfection. Combined with the tomatoey chilli and garlic sauce, this was a tasty dish.

We had seen chim quay on the menu, but decided to go with another bird. The Bit quay xao nam dong co (boneless roast duck with chinese mushrooms, japanese tofu, spinach, ginger and soy sauce) came of their Specialties list, and as massive duck fans had to give it a try. I always think soy-based sauces go the best with rice, and this again proved that point. That said, while the duck was cooked well and was tasty it was not the best duck dish I've had. I enjoyed the dish and the array of flavours its offered (the tofu and the spinach were nice additions), but it just lacked that 'wow' factor to make it something I'd want to come back to again and again.

The Verdict: Very Good
The food at Lido was very good and deserving of its reputation as a consistent performer, and as one of the more comfortable Vietnamese restaurants in town (I should add that the service was excellent and very attentive). Perhaps its because its been little over a month since we were in Vietnam but Lido didn't excite us as much as the best dishes we'd had in Vietnam - and while it wasn't expensive I couldn't help but think about how cheap better dishes would be in Hanoi. Perhaps we need to try other items from their menu to find mains that were as good as the stuffed chicken wings. As it stands I'd call Lido a satisfying meal, but not one that impressed me enough to become a regular.

Lido Restaurant Northbridge on Urbanspoon

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