As if opening Piggery Cafe & Burnham Bakery to the public 6 weeks ago wasn’t enough, this month, over-achieving Shannon Bennett has opened Jardin Tan.  With the kiosk already serving customers earlier this month, yesterday saw Jardin Tan’s restaurant open its doors to runners, walkers, families, and tourists alike.  With an attempt to keep the food authentic & local with their very own kitchen garden in development and resources mostly via its sister property at Burnham Beeches, Bennett has enlisted Mike Reid (former executive chef at Gaucho in London) to head up the establishment.  The food is intended to be authentic Vietnamese and inspired by the French colonisation of Vietnam in the late 1850s.

We visited Jardin Tan’s restaurant yesterday for lunch.  Upon arrival, I absolutely loved the interior design.  The location has always been pretty special with lots of natural light flooding in – but now with the take over and revamp, it’s even more unique and guarantees a lot more walks around the Tan from me!  The service, in contrast to its predecessor, was pretty darn good – especially given it was their first day.  The prices – well they were high.  But I guess the kiosk (with items like rice paper rolls for $10.50, banh mi for $12.50, & beef pho for $14.50) is more for every day eating and the restaurant reserved for more special occasions.

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Cold Pressed Juice – Yellow – Fruits & roots ($7) jardin tan 1280-1This was delicious and included cantaloupe, apple, pineapple & mint.

Cold Pressed Juice – Orange – Remedy ($7) jardin tan 1280-2Talk about zingy.. This juice had a tonne of ginger in it as well some orange & carrot.  My husband didn’t like it but after the initial shock to my tastebuds, I kind of enjoyed it.

Bo la lot – Blackmore wagyu beef mince wrapped in betel leaves with peanut sauce ($14) jardin tan 1280-21The bolalot was perfectly cooked and very tasty.  I felt the peanut sauce was a bit too creamy and lacking in flavour though.

Banh xeo – Crispy pancake with pork & shrimp ($15.50) jardin tan 1280-24We always think of these as being the perfect banh xeo but there are a lot of interpretations of Vietnamese pancakes.  This pancake was fairly thick but very crispy and very tasty.  It had a lot of filling as well and I loved the slices of chilli folded through which added a welcome kick to every second or third bite.

Chem chep xao nuoc dua xa ot – Coconut mussels with lemongrass & chilli ($19) jardin tan 1280-23By far the best dish we had.  The mussels were perfectly cooked, and the gravy was exquisite.  It was a creamy green curry base and with the perfect baguette to soak up every ounce of soupy goodness, it was really an Asian rendition of moules mariniere.

Steamed rice ($6) jardin tan 1280-20We ordered one of these to share.  I was rather amused when one of these arrived 2 minutes after we had ordered without any other dishes, and the second arrived 30 minutes later when every single one of our dishes came out at exactly the same time (almost resulting in us having to acquire an adjacent table).  Obviously by the time we ate, one of them was cold, the other warm – so we chose to share the warm one (& don’t worry we checked our bill and were only billed for the one we ordered).

Ca ri vit – Red duck curry, peppers, apples & pumpkin ($35) jardin tan 1280-19We’d heard this was a ripper of a dish, along with their lamb ribs (which they had unfortunately already run out of when we got there) but it was honestly a huge disappointment.  If there’s no heat to a ‘curry’ dish, I at least expect a range of harmonious spices but this dish was more of a stew – a super sweet stew.  The duck was lovely and tender but I just didn’t like it.. because it needs another name.

Blackmore Family thit bo trong ngay – Wagyu flank cooked on coal with nouc mam cham ($40) jardin tan 1280-25This was extremely fatty so obviously quite tender for the cut.  The steak was perfectly cooked and well seasoned and the sauce was lovely with a bit of spice & sweetness but yes.. given the cut and the fact that I almost gagged on a slice before finding a knife in the cutlery container (not something you’ll usually find in Vietnamese restaurants) – a bit overpriced.

Instead of dessert, we finished off with coffees…

Our iced coffee – Vietnamese drip coffee ($6) jardin tan 1280-42

jardin tan 1280-44Like most Vietnamese restaurants, they used Trung Nguyen coffee.  Strong, pungent, Vietnamese coffee combined with condensed milk is always a bit of a winner in our eyes.

Filter brew coffee – orange, cassia bark & star anise-infused single origin coffee ($5) jardin tan 1280-43This was interesting.

All in all, we had a fabulous time at Jardin Tan.  It’s a very family-friendly place, lovely and spacious with a very special ambience and lovely staff.  The food is quite good and it is somewhere I’d consider taking visitors to in the future.  I definitely look forward to seeing their Banh mi Bikes – “Hoi Anne” & “Halong John” on future walks around the Tan as they bring tempting pastries, coffee, cold pressed juices, banh mi, and even craft beers around the Royal Botanic Gardens.

JARDIN TAN
Royal Botanic Gardens
Birdwood Avenue
South Yarra  VIC  3141
03 9021 2111
Open daily 8 am – 4 pm

Jardin Tan on Urbanspoon

2 Responses

  1. cecylia

    Looks delish! What a tall bowl of rice 😀 I’m a huge fan of mussels too! Let’s go there one day after our Tan run!

    Reply
    • Elaine

      Yes.. if we manage to run around the Tan one of these days, let’s celebrate with a massive meal at Jardin Tan 😉

      Reply

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