Everyone raves about misschu‘s Tuckshop, but I have to admit that I resisted visiting for a very long time. You see, K and I went to Vietnam late last year for two weeks, and we had the most intensely flavourful meals while we were there – and generally, these were meals that we ate squatting on the sidewalk at a street vendor. I honestly didn’t think we could recreate the intensity and complexity of those flavours at a restaurant here in Sydney – and while I was mostly correct, there’s a lot to like about misschu’s.
Designed to look like a street vendor, the long galley kitchen of misschu’s is entirely surrounded by a long bar for diners on stools. You can see all the chefs working their magic right in front of you.
While there are pots of tea freely available for everyone to help themselves, the replenishment service is lacking. I notice that for the whole hour we’re at misschu’s, the teapots remain stolidly empty with group after group of individuals walking away disappointed.
K and I both order blended ice drinks, remembering the cool fruity blended drinks we regularly ordered from street vendors (avocado smoothie anyone?). While refreshing and distinctive in their own right, these drinks don’t quite measure up – the pineapple drink was probably the best of the two as it was sweeter and better blended while the lychee drink distinctly lacked enough of a lychee flavour.
It’s disappointing that the rice paper rolls you get at misschu’s aren’t freshly made, even when you pay $9 or more for two small rolls. It’s hard to justify paying that amount for two rice paper rolls when you can get the very same at any takeaway sushi joint for half the price. That’s the problem – even though the roast duck was tasty, the rice paper had dried out from sitting in a container for too long which spoiled the overall flavour and texture.
The banh mi was a lot better and you could clearly tell that it had been freshly made, which made all the difference. The vegetables were still crisp and fresh and the roast pork added a good subtle flavour to the otherwise healthy roll. And maybe that was the problem – I definitely felt like this roll lacked strong flavour, which was probably the absence of the lard or pate that you normally find in a banh mi.
The last dish we ordered was a banh cuon, which was probably the pick of the lot. The herbed mince mixture was simply packed with fresh, natural flavours, and the liberal amount of fish sauce and chilli helped to develop the depth of flavours in this dish. The fried shallots on top also helped to give a bit of a crispy texture to the dish as well.
Overall, I rate misschu’s Tuckshop a 7 out of 10. While the food was decent in its own way, I definitely felt it was overpriced for what you get – $9 for two rice paper rolls? It’s not worth it, and I would suggest that you use that money in driving to Cabramatta for a meal that will cost you half the price but be twice as tasty.