Thursday, 9 August 2012


51 Carrington Rd
Box Hill, VIC 3128

It’s hard for a restaurant to stand out in Box Hill. Good eateries are a dime a dozen, so simply serving yummy, cheap food isn’t quite enough. Indochine manages to stay above the water by offering slightly highbrow Vietnamese food in a suburb that is mostly known for its cheap Chinese restaurants.

Despite being spread over two rooms – a lot more space than most of its neighbours – seating at Indochine is somewhat of an endangered species. When we rocked up at just past noon, we were turned away with a ten minute wait, unless if we were willing to sit outside (we weren’t, as it was a horrendously windy day). After a quick wander through the Box Hill shopping center, we returned, and were seated with minimal fuss near the back.

The decor is rather whimsical, all paper lanterns in primary colours and grass roofs. It’s clearly trying to lure in a wider range of clientele, not just the homesick Vietnamese families. And it’s working too; when we visited, there was an even distribution between smartly dressed middle age business people, and old Asian couples getting their pho fix.

Bun with Char-Grilled Lemongrass Pork and Spring Rolls ($10.5)

I’ve been craving bun for a few weeks, and I remembered from a good five or so years back that Indochine does a mean one, so Bun with Char-Grilled Lemongrass Pork and Spring Rolls ($10.5) it was for me.

Bun with Char-Grilled Lemongrass Pork and Spring Rolls ($10.5)

A quick toss with my fork and chopsticks, after a thorough dousing with sweet chilli nuoc cham, yielded a mixture of vermicelli and fresh salad greens. The thick slices of char-grilled pork were beautiful, with just the right amount of fat so it melts in the mouth with no residue greasiness. The segments of spring roll were satisfyingly crispy, but only if you eat them quickly enough. Once everything was mixed together, this was a fresh and clean salad with summery notes of lemongrass and mint.

Mee Goreng ($11.4)
Mee Goreng ($11.4)

Never having had any kind of Mee Goreng ($11.4) that wasn’t wrapped in plastic with little flavour sachets, Chris has long been fascinated with trying the real thing. His curiosity was assuaged with a large plate of thick yellow noodles, stir fried with a generous amount of roast pork and prawns, and flavoured with a sweet soy sauce. The taste wasn’t terribly far from the real thing, but it was missing the quintessential wok hei of Malaysian hawker dishes; heck, forget the smoky wok flavour, the frozen prawns were barely lukewarm. But that’s what we get for ordering Malaysian at a Vietnamese restaurant.

I won’t deny that Indochine is a good spot for an authentic Vietnamese meal... as long as you order the right things. The service is brisk and can be intimidating, but it’s not unfriendly, and the staff always have a quick smile to spare. Most of the common (and some less common) Vietnamese dishes are available on the double-sided A3 menu, albeit for a few dollars more than your average cheap and cheerful. But then again, the tables aren’t greasy, the lighting isn’t fluorescent, and it actually wouldn’t be an awful idea to bring a first date here.  

Rating: 13.5/20 – lemongrass pork.

Indochine on Urbanspoon


  1. MING MING!!
    I don't know what to say... BUT you're like seriously my twin!
    I went there the other time and I also had the Vermicelli and Springrolls >_<

    What I do find with Indochine.. is that they don't have all the usuals :( I really wanted their Bun Bo Hue.. and they didn't have it.. and all the things I asked for.. they just didn't have it :sad faise:

    Peach Water

    1. Haha maybe we should ask our parents just exactly what's going on! The bun is good though, especially the lemongrass pork, mmmmmm :)

      And I've haven't been enough times to notice that they don't always have some dishes, poor form though on their part.

  2. I've been here a couple of times as it's pretty reliable and cheap. Great photos too :)

    1. Thank you! Do you know if the main plates are any good?