To cap off a very busy week, we took a trip to Glebe to try some authentic and fresh Vietnamese cuisine at the newly opened Hem Nine Nine. The name, which means Laneway 99, takes its inspiration from the streets of Saigon, where everyone lives in laneways along a large main road.
We had three smaller dishes to start with – the Rice Paper Rolls, Crispy Netted Spring Rolls and Grilled Beef Skewers. Our favourite of the day was the spring rolls – they truly lived up to their description and were so crispy, with a good filling to pastry ratio, and an accompanying sauce that was tangy, but not too overpowering. They were best eaten by wrapping them in lettuce with a mint leaf tucked in to the parcel, and then dipped into sauce!
The Beef Skewers were also a huge hit – the beef pieces were so nicely grilled and so tender and juicy. My friend loved the accompanying slaw as well! Finally, the Rice Paper Rolls (we picked the duck and hoisin variety) were a great fresh component to our entree.
The main dish of the day was the Roasted Bone Marrow, Pho Salad and Crispy Bread. I had never tried bone narrow before, and while the thought was very daunting, I bravely spread some of the gelatinous filling on a bread roll, and took my first bite – YUM! It had the flavour and texture of garlic bread, and was nothing like I was expecting, as it was so fragrant and flavoursome. Be sure to include some of the salad in your roll as well, as the bamboo shoots added a lovely touch.
Hem Nine Nine is located on the bustling Glebe Point Road, and is a short bus ride from Central Station. They have seating around the bar, along the side and facing the front, so you can soak up the nighttime vibes. The staff are really friendly and happy to explain the cuisine and how to eat some of their more creative dishes, which was really helpful. They also have a great selection of wine, beer and cider, and the rose and white that we chose were a great pairing with our meal.
After eating at Hem Nine Nine, I definitely developed a new appreciation for Vietnamese cuisine, and saw just how varied and unique it can be, especially with the Bone Marrow, which is a must try. However, they do the simple and classic dishes so well, and you can’t go past the spring rolls or skewers! We’ll definitely be back for more of their amazing fare, and you can find their food on the go at the Mama Linh’s food trucks as well!
Note: Khana dined as a guest of Hem Nine Nine. Thanks so much to Catherine for the invite!