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Dandelion Restaurant Joyous Vietnamese Dining

Dandelion restaurant in Elwood Village is an iconic Melbourne dining experience, featuring Vietnamese cuisine with a modern expression. While primarily Vietnamese the restaurant also diverges into other South East Asian cuisines. The World Loves Melbourne was invited for lunch and we were highly impressed.

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The menu celebrates owner Geoff Lindsay's (legend of the Melbourne culinary scene including Pearl and now also Lamaro's) love for Vietnamese food and culture. Chef Sam Pinzone excels with Vietnamese cooking but also other South East Asian influences.

On arrival we were greeted by rock star front of house Az. Cheerful and knowledgeable he took us on a top notch culinary journey. Premium customer service.

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Dandelion restaurant is stunning and a perfect venue for your catch up, lunch with friends and colleagues, or romantic interlude. Exposed brick walls and artwork with chic furniture. But the thing that struck me was the wonderful amount of natural light even on a dreary Melbourne day.

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Prosecco to start off our lunch.

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Freshly Shucked Coffin Bay Oysters – Four Pillars gin, mint and chilli nuoc cham. We could taste the Four Pillars gin, perfect match with the fresh oysters. The chilli nuoc cham was also stunning and brought a tasty zest to the oysters.

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I decided to pick up the bowl and pour this delicious dressing/sauce into the oyster shells. 

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Crab Spring Rolls – wrapped in lattice rice paper, lettuce and herb wrap, nuoc cham. The starters are top notch and we recommend them all!

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Attractive artwork and ambience for your dining experience.

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Great to see first class local wines on the wine list. Ocean Eight Pinot Gris the perfect pairing.

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A personal highlight was the Green Rice Fried Tiger Prawns – lettuce and herb wrap, nuoc cham. Many of the dishes have this fresh and fun aspect of lettuce wraps. Juicy prawns in a green rice casing looked visually stunning and the flavours compelling.

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Who doesn't love Peking Duck rolls? Peking Duck Rice Paper Rolls – spring onion, cucumber, Sriracha hoi sin. This was a must order - dip the already constructed rolls in the dipping sauce. A delicious and fun dish.

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A splash of green in a chic elongated sexy restaurant.

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Shaking Beef – Wagyu beef, Kampot pepper sauce, tomato, sunflower shoots, rice paper crisps. Peppery beef is excellent in itself but wonderfully paired with all the other elements including the crunch of rice paper crisps. 

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Bo La Lot – Wagyu beef wrapped in betel leaf, pickle, Viet mint, nuoc cham. Another rewarding joyous dish with a playful wrap element.

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Tamarind and Ginger Fish Curry – stewed tomato, cucumber pickle, rice. We love a fish curry and this dish hits the heights, including the crunch of lotus root. In this case we enjoyed this rustic dish with rice.

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Fetherston in Healesville is a great example of Dandelion supporting top notch boutique wineries.

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Our wine journey with pairings showcased the dimensions and quality of the wine list.

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Arguably our favourite dish was the Caramelised Pork Hock – tamarind caramel, fragrant herbs, lettuce wrap. This was caramelised hock to be raved about. The colour of the dish had me salivating and the crunch of the skin was perfect. Within the large piece of pork was tender meat and the sauce was top notch, rich and rewarding. Once again this dish was to be eaten with lettuce wraps. Fragrant herbs are a hallmark of Dandelion.

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This dish is enough for 2-3 people.

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Attractive spaces at Dandelion. We sat at a table next to the front window.

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The dish comes with a large knife to cut through the caramelised crunchy exterior.

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Single-Origin Marou Chocolate Mousse – Condensed milk parfait, freeze dried mandarin, Vietnamese coffee crumb. A sheer delight, this dessert was like a deconstructed Vietnamese coffee in a mousse expression. So good.

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Dandelion is an icon of the Melbourne dining scene but it has evolved and has an excitement about it. You will be hard pressed to enjoy a more rewarding lunch experience than we did at Dandelion. Highly recommended.