We talk a lot about clean and green these days. Clean and green was the first thing I thought when I climbed the stairs to first floor dining area of Uncle on Carlisle Street, St Kilda.
I think it is the plain wood tables but also the light that comes from high up windows that gives the feeling of not being in the city. It quite different from the busy slightly grungy street outside – rather Swedish in its feel and not anything like Vietnamese restaurants and cafes we are used to.
We were there for lunch and the temperature outside was in the early 30s. We checked out the leafy rooftop terrace which is tranquil and relaxing but chose to sit inside with the air conditioning.
From where we sat, on our high stools, we were able to watch the action in the kitchen.
The menu has a small food section and a large drinks section. Uncle’s specialise in themed cocktails See the menu here. You can also order sparkling water and it comes in a carafe and can be served in a wine glass which is a nice touch, especially for the dedicated driver.
This is an ideal place to order a few small dishes to share.
These are the dishes we tried:
Lime cured Hapuka, coconut, pomegranate, chilli, betel leaf.
Hapuka the New Zealand name for groper, is a lovely eating fish. Served this way it was delicious, so delicious there is the temptation to order another serving. It is served on a betel leaf that you wrap around it and munch away. The Pomegranate gives a nice crunch the shaved coconut also adds the texture.
Lettuce wrap Vietnamese pork meatballs with green fragrant herbs, crushed nuts, sugar cane, nouc chum.
This is a do-it-yourself dish in that you wrap the meatball in the lettuce and then dip it into the sauce. The combination of flavours were delicate and subtle and went well with the crisp iceburg.
Rice paper rolls w/black vinegar, eggplant, jack fruit and nouc chum.
I found these outstanding and the addition of the eggplant and mint to the more usual rice paper roll tipped them into a class of their own.
Black wild rice, nuts, grains, chilli, fragrant herb w/panko crumbed hens egg.
I understand that panko is much that same as bread crumbs but is made without the bread crusts. I hope I am right. It looked like a bread crumb coating. This is a more substantial dish and well worth trying. The wonderful thing is that the egg was soft boiled – boiled to perfection.
Pho Ba and Pho Ga.
The Pho specialists with me gave both these the thumbs up -”Yummy, very nicely made and a good ratio of noddles, meat and broth.”
The food carried the clean green feeling forward with all the very fresh vegetables and herbs. A great place to eat. We will be back and we were pleased to note that all the dishes are part of their take away menu. It will be worth grabbing some of rice paper rolls on the way home from work. Another nice touch was the colourful pottery plates – not really so noticeable in my photos but check them out if you go there.
The downstairs bar is a good place to wait for a table on busy evenings or to just drop in to grab a cocktail and light snack.
188 Carlisle Street St Kilda
Phone 9041 2668
Car: There is one hour parking in surrounding streets and two hours in the car parks behind Safeway and Coles
Tram: 16 & 3 stop outside and 79 stops on the corner of Chapel Street.
Train: The Sandringham Line to Balaclava Station takes you to Carlisle Street
Tuesday 5.00pm to 11.00pm
Wednesday & Thursday 12.00 to 11.00pm
Friday & Saturday 12.00 – 12.00pm
Sunday 12.00 to 11.00pm