Not a month goes by where I don’t make a pilgrimage to Victoria Street, giving in to my cravings and indulging in a delicious Vietnamese meal. More often than not I find myself sitting down at Coda, the simple reason being the food is reliably good.
No fuss, no frills, just traditional Vietnamese specialties prepared and served strikingly similarly to the way it is done back in Vietnam.
Most meals unfold with a starter of delightfully fresh pork and prawn cold rolls with a peanut dipping sauce or the barbecued quail in a superb sticky, sweet sauce.
Next up there is no looking past the rare beef pho. Where do I start… boy oh boy this is the tastiest broth. It’s sure to turn your troubles around, cure that cold or bring love back to your heart, should you have lost it. Simply put the pho contains oodles of nutritive goodness that is more than obvious in every spoonful.
The thinly shaved slices of beef, blushing rose, along with the scallion are just delightful adding vigour and strength to what could otherwise be a somewhat flat dish you would expect to be served at your granny’s house. A squeeze of lemon and adding in the sprouts and basil that is brought out at the start of your meal is a must as it really brings the soup to life.
Talking mains at Codo I usually go the fish or the duck. The fish option that I love and highly recommend is the whole barramundi deep fried and doused in south east-Asian flavours.
Expect layer upon layer of red chilli, scallions, caramelised shallots, thinly sliced green capsicum, fish sauce and a sweet nuoc cham style vinegar based sauce. While the heat can have a numbing effect on your tongue temporarily it is mind bogglingly so good-so bad for you that it will have you fighting yourself for just one more bite. And at $24 for the whole fish it is incredibly amazing value for money.
The duck option is simply in a plum sauce (not traditionally Vietnamese I know) but it is good. Beware however it does come out on a sizzler, best to advise you prefer it on a plate since their sizzling plates tend to fume burned scents rather than sultry smoky characteristics.
Usually the plain, steamed white rice is the go, but they also do a mean special fried rice with all the trimmings (pork, prawn and chicken) which is definitely worth checking out.
Unfortunately for me, Asian desserts are a no go zone, so this one is a wrap for me.
Ambience Can be crowded, noisy and there is not always much room to move about. But where the ‘ambience’ lacks the quality of the food makes up amply.
Service Plain and simple. Staff have basic knowledge of English, so be prepared to be patient and whip out the occasional sign language reference. It is also best not to be too fussy or expect a certain order for the meal to come out in even if you ask. They sort of bring it out as it is ready (can be annoying but such is the place and the experience).
Food Best Vietnamese Melbourne has to offer without a doubt. Not only is the food extremely tasty but there is consistency.
Overall 7/10 Absolutely enjoy the food and the great value. For an average $40 spend for two you really could not expect or want more. Been to Codo at least a dozen times and will be returning in a couple weeks I suspect.