Named after the Vietnamese city of Can Tho (pronounced Gung Turh), Can Tho Kitchen Bar is owned and operated by husband and wife team Vien and Thao, who came to Australia as refugees in 1981. Since opening its doors in 2002, the Runaway Bay restaurant has become a local favourite with a packed dining room and line out the door pretty standard for a Friday and Saturday night. Once you get a glimpse of the goods, it’s not hard to see why. The extensive menu is conveniently categorised into small, medium and large plates and meanders from rice paper rolls through to fragrant phos and even sexy squid. What makes it sexy you ask? Well, you’ll just have to book a table to find out for yourself. The menu is designed for sharing and is bursting with flavours of lemongrass, ginger, coriander, chilli and lime, hallmarks of traditional Vietnamese fare and is inspired by Thaos mother’s own family recipes but adapted for the Australian palate. If you simply can’t decide, opt for the Moi platter, which includes a selection of favourites for $32. Whilst the menu might be influenced by Vietnam, the venue’s vibe definitely resembles a bustling Melbourne laneway with graffiti-covered walls and small tables pushed together to create a shared dining experience. Oh, and they also happen to shake up a damn fine cocktail so maybe don’t offer to drive.
Images courtesy of Can Tho Kitchen Bar.