Vanilla Orchid– The Overview…
Food: Ginger and Lime Mojito, Crispy Pork Belly, Meung Kum Goong, slow cooked duck Maryland, lamb massaman curry, barramundi (plaa wad prik), signature chocolate chilli mousse, Kanom Sai Sai
While Vanilla Orchid may initially seem out of place in Warrandyte village with its old fashioned, country style buildings, antiquaries and sweet shops, once you step inside you are instantly transported to Thailand. The crisp black and red finish, the paper lantern light shades and the gold laden artwork adorning the walls makes you quickly forget about the bush and kangaroos chilling out in the fields outside. As with many restaurants in the outer suburbs, while it has an upmarket feel, you’ll see people perfectly at home here in shorts and thongs – especially in warm weather days when people will flood here to enjoy nearby walking trails. On the doorstep to the Dandenong Ranges it’s also a great stop on the way home to the Eastern suburbs too.
I started the night with a ginger and lime mojito. Sticky sweet on the first sip it gives way to that minty, sharp freshness you expect from a classic mojito. It’s a great drink – enough of a twist to make it unusual while not losing sight of what makes the drink iconic (Vanilla Orchid are fully licensed and byo wine only). We quickly followed this with our starters: the Crispy Pork Belly and Meung Kum Goong (switching the prawns out for tofu).
The meung kum goong is fab. It’s build your own little lettuce parcels with tofu (prawns) chilli, onion, apple, cashews, coconut and a slightly spiced sauce. Depending on how you fill your parcels, you can make this anything from a very sweet entree, to super spicy. Cutting into the huge pieces of pork belly there’s a satisfying crunch, and honestly on tasting the first bite I was drooling. There’s a nice meatiness to the pork while dusted with just a subtle sweetness and a gentle spice. With 4 pieces it’s quite a large entree too.
For mains we tried the slow cooked duck Maryland, lamb massaman curry and the barramundi (plaa wad prik). It’s actually hard to choose a fave from these three totally different dishes. The smell of the duck and the crisp brightly coloured salad were mouthwatering, the fried barramundi was so soft it fell apart even trying to move it to my plate, and you just can’t beat a classic bowl of Thai curry.
We loved the striking sourness of the sauce on the fish. It’s a brave dish as there’s the risk that the sauce will overwhelm the delicate fish, but its nicely balanced and the fish manages to stand out against the spicy- sour combo. In contrast the duck is a plainer, more mild dish. The soft duck falls off the bone and the sweet sauce really enhances the flavour. If you’re worried about the spice level of Thai food, this one’s for you!
Finally the curry is just a great classic bowl of Thai food. Lots of lamb, accented with potatoes and pineapple. We paired it with some coconut rice, giving an easy, tasty Thai meal! While it wasn’t quite as memorable as the other two dishes, which had a bit of a wow factor, it was still a delicious curry and very enjoyable. It had a nice spicy hit to it, but not eye-watering – if anything I think the fish was a spicier choice. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it was a mild curry, but it was definitely a gentle spiciness making it so easy to eat.
For dessert we tried the signature chocolate chilli mousse and the Kanom Sai Sai – a Thai coconut mousse with caramel coconut. The chocolate mousse was a light airy mousse. It’s got a noticeable heat, which can be cooled down with the fruit on the side if desired. We can see why this one is their signature. The Kanom Sai Sai, while seemingly impossible to take a photo of it that does it justice, is creatively presented. Served warm it’s something a little different but is a real comforting dessert. Not too heavy, it’s a good one if you’re feeling quite full!
Address: Shop 5, 188 Yarra Street, Warrandyte
Tue 5:30pm to 10pm
Wed 5:30pm to 10pm
Thu 5:30pm to 10pm
Fri 5:30pm to 10pm
Sat 5:30pm to 10pm
Sun 5:30pm to 10pm
Parking: One of the pleasures of being so far out of the city is that parking was a doddle! You can park on Yarra Street itself, and there’s car parks running pretty much the whole length of the village too!
Getting here on PT: Yeah nah… it’s not really PT-able from the CBD. Although you can get there on the 906 or 364 bus, they’ll stop round the corner, or the 578 and 579 routes are probably walkable too.
Disclaimer: We dined as guests of Vanilla Orchid, Warrandyte. Reviews are honest and based on our own personal experiences. We cannot guarantee things at a restaurant won’t change including, but not limited to, menu items and opening hours, so please confirm any details with the venue before visiting.