Uncle (Collins Street)

Level 1, 15 Collins Street
03 9654 0829
Contemporary, Fusion, Vietnamese
$$$$$

Food

  • Raw Kingfish
  • Hot and Sour Chicken Wings
  • Young Rice Prawn Banh Mi
  • Braised Beef Short Rib Bao
  • Bo Luc Lac
  • Master Stock Crispy Pork Hock
  • Coconut Rice
  • Strawberry Tart

The Good

We started off with the Raw Kingfish and were immediately impressed. The thin, delicate slices of kingfish sashimi were exceedingly fresh and tender. This was well accompanied by a light, unobtrusive sauce made of soy and wasabi peas that provided a hint of freshness. Coupled with a creamy and fragrant coconut and tamarind foam, this rank as one of the top sashimi dishes we’ve ever sampled.
The Prawn Banh Mi was no less spectacular. Within the cute, soft and fluffy bun was a generous amount of crispy, tempura-fried prawns. With a well-seasoned coating providing great crunch, this was perfectly juxtaposed with the mushy and slightly tangy avocao puree as well as the creamy yet slightly spicy sirarcha mayo.
The Braised Beef Short Rib Bao also excited our tastebuds. The protein was exceptionally juicy and tender, and quite literally fell right off the bone. Without being overly fatty, this aromatic beef was well complemented by bits of Morcilla that was incredibly flavoursome and slightly earthy. All sandwiched within the steaming hot, fluffy white bao and complemented by a tangy papaya salad, the flavour profile was simply incredible.
The Sticky Hot and Sour Chicken Wings didn’t disappoint either. Glazing the crispy and lightly battered Asian-style fried chicken wings, we found the sauce to be slightly tangy with a well-balanced sweet, spicy and chilli sensation. The tartness of the juices from the tangerine¬†perfectly juxtaposed the sweetness of the sauce, and was accompanied by the tender and juicy inner of the wings.
Arriving at the mains, we chose to sample the very traditional Vietnamese staple, the Bo Luc Lac. Distinctly different from other renditions we have ever seen, the seared porterhouse cubes was mixed with a plethora of spices as well as a bold and flavoursome smoked tomato salsa. This was coupled with an abundance of watercress, providing a bitter and earthy sensation throughout. The highlight though was undoubtedly the beef itself, which was cooked to perfection and was exceptionally tender and juicy. The still-pink inner was enclosed by a nicely charred outer that provided a slight crisp. The only gripe though would be that the sauce was overly salty and took distracted away from the pleasant flavours of the beef itself.
Coming to the star of the show, we found ourselves in front of a Master Stock Crispy Pork Hock. At a generous size, the pork hock was roasted to perfection. The incredible crunch of the outer, caramelised skin wrapped some of the most tender and juicy pork protein ever. The so-called “Master Stock” was absolutely phenomenal, so bold and full-bodied, with an intense yet intricate balance of sweet and savoury. Wrapping the evenly distributed layers of fat and protein within the delicately soft banh hoi, a Vietnamese woven rice vermicelli and the refreshing crisp of fresh lettuce, and each mouthful is a mixture of complex, flavoursome deliciousness.
We concluded the evening with the Strawberry Tart. The incredibly fresh strawberries were accompanied by the complex flavours of the black vinegar curd. Served alongside a scoop of smooth and creamy pistachio ice cream. All this creamy goodness was contrasted by the crispness of the basil meringue and the crunch of the pastry of the tart. While we couldn’t quite differentiate the basil itself, the meringue wasn’t overly sweet which was a welcome change to most meringues.

The Mediocre

Nothing.

The Bad

Nothing.

The Verdict

Uncle is a very modern Asian eatery with loads of Vietnamese influences thrown in. Even the simple and traditional staples like Banh Mi and Bo Luc Lac were given a creative and contemporary twist.
While the majority of attempts at the ‘modernisation’ of traditional dishes by many fail to satisfy the tastebuds as much as their original counterpart, the innovations that Uncle implemented created an equally, if not even more appetising rendition of the unadulterated versions.

Would Penguin Eat Again?

That’d be a very resounding, yes. While the dishes are undeniably pricey, what you do pay for is top quality ingredients that are superbly executed to create an experience like no other.
Penguineats would like to thank Uncle for inviting us.

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Uncle Collins Street Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato