I visited Bay Tinh, Marrickville several times but this is my first visit to the Crows Nest branch. I travelled to Vietnam recently and seeing this picture when I walked into the Crows Nest Restaurant gave me flashes of street food and seafood by the beach and glorious nights floating around Halong Bay on a boat just like this. The decore is comfortable and colourful but doesn’t feel overly caricatured.
On my first visit I met Harry Hoang, the owner and Executive Chef of Bay Tinh. He is excitable, friendly gracious and he just loves what he does, working the room most nights talking affably to each table of customers Harry is a refugee who has made his way in his new country of Australia by bringing a little piece of his own to life here. He proudly cooks popular Vietnamese recipes along with some of his mothers, one notable recipe being the Tiny Rice Cakes below. He bought the restaurant in 2007. Since that time he has laboured to make it welcoming, comfortable and up date the look and feel. This has involved a renovation in Marrickville and opening Crows Nest, concentrating on presentation and investing in interesting dinnerware, fantastic glassware, and good selection of wines. The function/party room out the back looks dark , brooding and fun and Harry even offers his own cocktails.
A night in a restaurant is like a performance on stage. Sometimes things go seamlessly and other nights there are forgotten lines. On some nights the service can be stretched, however the staff are always sweet and friendly and going early can remedy this. Harry hasn’t perfected his restaurants but they have a great soul and a very interesting combination of Vietnam with exciting modern touches. The menu is quite extensive so be prepared for a long read. Ok , want to see some food now?
This is the broody back room/bar
These are Harry’s famous Little Rice Cakes, the likes of which I don’t think you will see any where else in Sydney.
They are served freshly cooked . Soft and delicately creamy inside with a crunchy outer shell, they are served with a shrimp based relish
6 x $10.50
Pork Skewers come “unskewered” The slices marinated in Harrys unique recipe presented in lettuce cups with noodles pickled vegetables and mint
- Duck salad with lightly pickled vegetables and prawn crackers 10.00
- Sugar cane prawns with pickles $12.80 x 4 pieces
Caramelized Fish, a family recipe arrives in a black Spanish style dish, with thin slices of pork . The dish is very sweet but the fish is soft and moist. $20.50
Bonfire Prawns. Seafood and or meat cooked at the table. Softened rice papers, and a salad accompany this dramatic dish, which you prepare yourself at the table. Once the flames subside the Prawns are cooked inside the pot, you roll them up with salad,herbs and Anchovy sauce. The dish is quite traditionally Vietnamese and we really enjoy rolling them and crunching into each one. There were only two of us ,so there were quite a lot. The freshness of the herbs and salad is essential and delicious but we hoped the dish itself would have a bit more of a chilli or acidic kick and perhaps more mint and coriander to boost it at $26.00
This special dish is a Ballotine of Chicken boned and stuffed with pork and spices, then cooked Sous Vide, before being finished in a gorgeous sauce. This is served with Harry’s special ‘rice chips’. A secret recipe he has worked to get looking just like potato… with the crunch and colour, very clever….they really are crisp and delicious with a slightly sweet aftertaste. This is a great dish $17.50 x 1/4
Dessert is not usually on my radar at a Vietnamese Restaurant . It is a large list, similar to the mains and entrees. Banana fritters, Chocolate and Wasabi Cake and Fried Icecream are some of the diverse choices. The fried icecream is a little soft on the exterior , served with a caramel sauce, I had the feeling it may have been precooked.
I love that Bay Tinh is not like any other Vietnamese Restaurant, in fact I’d love one of Harry’s cocktails out the back in the bar on my next visit.
My Kitchen Stories visited as a guest of Bay Tinh and Wasamedia
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