I love the clean, fresh flavours of Vietnamese cuisine, with its liberal use of fresh herbs and spices.
What could be more enjoyable than plucking fresh mint leaves and dunking them into your steaming bowl of pho?
Owners of Dandelion in Elwood, Geoff and Jane Lindsay, chose the rich and diverse cuisine of Vietnam for their stylish restaurant.
"Our menu is a very personal showcase of dishes inspired by the cuisine of Vietnam with its wonderfully intoxicating combination of the raw and the cooked, hot, cold, sweet and sour tastes and flavours," Geoff said.
Head chef Ennis Le leads a young and talented team which cooks up a storm in the open kitchen.
Ennis started cooking at the tender age of 15 in Vietnam and qualified at the William Angliss Institute when he moved to Melbourne.
From the menu which doubles as a placemat, we started with crispy sesame and coconut rice papers, huge wafers topped with a delectable mix of sweet spanner crab flesh laced with coconut, chilli and lime.
The green rice fried tiger prawns were quite delightful, comprising large prawns coated in green rice flakes and fried crisp.
Still on the seafood theme, we also enjoyed the king crab spring rolls with a difference, wrapped in crunchy lattice rice paper roll and dressed in a piquant ginger nuoc cham sauce.
If you enjoy the traditional flavours of pho, you can choose from an array of beef, seafood, chicken, duck or vegetarian-based soups at Dandelion.
Pho is actually inspired by the French dish, pot au feu and is a truly fusion dish.
Our Sher Wagyu beef version had meltingly tender slices of raw sirloin and braised brisket in a hearty stock, just delicious.
For a meaty treat, choose the caramelised pork hock cooked with tamarind and herbs or the twice cooked beef short ribs with green mango salad.
Try the chef's tasting menus, if you can't decide.
There is something to please everyone, including The Buddha for vegetarians, inspired by the Buddhist cuisine of Hue.
For dessert, don't go past the Bombe Saigon, an interesting take on the classic Bombe Alaska, but with a mint sorbet encased in a soft meringue, complemented by a berry and mango salad.
Dandelion is a treat for the tastebuds and senses.
133 Ormond Road
(03) 9531 4900
Lunch Thursday to Sunday, dinner every night
Entrees from $9, wraps and rolls from $18, main courses from $26, desserts from $12.
Extensive wine and cocktail list.