When K and I left on our European honeymoon, I assured my worried father than it would be fine to quit our jobs because “It’ll be so easy to find a job when we get back!”. Even when we met people overseas who expressed amazement that we would leave steady jobs to travel, we casually said “Oh it’ll be fine, we’ll easily find a job when we get back!”.
One month after we returned to Australia, I was beginning to regret my flippant words. K had started work a week after our return after having tee’d up a position at his former agency while we were still overseas. I however, was spending each increasingly despondent day in front of my computer applying for jobs. My self-esteem and self-worth was plummeting with each day as I felt increasingly dependent on others.
Imagine my joy then, when I received the best phone call an unemployed person could receive late on a recent Friday afternoon. A job offer! Not just that – but a fantastic job offer in an industry I’m passionate about, in a role I enjoy with increased responsibilities, remuneration and benefits. Definitely something worth celebrating.
Given that K already had plans to go out that Friday night with his colleagues, my dad took me out for dinner instead at a local Chinese-Vietnamese restaurant that had opened up while I was living in Sydney. VIP Kitchens is similar to other restaurants in Springvale, offering a range of Cantonese/Chinese-style and Vietnamese dishes on an extensive menu. They advertise their freshly roasted meats in the window, and numerous A4 sheets plastered around the restaurant advertised the price of lobster and crab dinners.
Given that it was just me and Dad, we decided against the elaborate crab dinner and just ordered a meal each with one more to share. But first – a bowl of complimentary soup from the restaurant for each diner. The Soup of the Day was a rich and savoury pork bone soup, with plenty of chunks of pork meat to make it quite hearty.
Dad opted for the Roast Pork on Rice, having been tempted by the glistening hunk of roast pork hanging in the window as we walked in. It was a very generous serving for the price. Dad loved it, but my main gripe was that the pork was almost a bit too fatty. I did love the super crunchy and salty crackling though!
I chose one of my go-to dishes in a non-pho-specialist Vietnamese restaurant: Vietnamese Broken Rice with Pork Chop. The pork chop was amazingly spiced and herbed – a really delicious treat. What I didn’t enjoy was the egginess of the cha trung (meatloaf). As you can see from the photo above, it was made up of predominantly egg, whereas I tend to prefer the Vietnamese meatloaf that has more pork or vermicelli noodles. It’s partially personal preference, but it’s also the fact that a meatloaf with more pork tastes better with this type of dish!
Dad ordered a dish for us to share – Pippies in XO Sauce. The XO sauce wasn’t quite as hot as I like it to be, but I was impressed with the number of pippies served in the fish.
Needless to say, you need something to soak up the excess XO sauce of the previous dish…so why not Chinese Doughnut? Crispy, crunchy and freshly-fried, this Chinese doughnut was fantastic with the XO sauce but would have been equally as good with a hot bowl of congee.
VIP Kitchens is a pretty decent Chinese-Vietnamese restaurant serving up some quality dishes at a reasonable price. The problem is, they’re a dime a dozen in Springvale; VIP Kitchens is just one of many such restaurants. After having tried some items from their menu, I have to say that I would still return to my preferred restaurant instead – Hoa Tran.
VIP Kitchens is located at Shop 2, 310 Springvale Rd, Springvale Melbourne.