I must admit. I don’t spend a lot of time exploring the local restaurants and cafe near where I live. There are definitely a few restaurants around that I’d recommend, but there are just so many new restaurants popping up left right and centre. Open early on most days this well spaced, clean and spaciously designed establishment is a great place to catch up with friends for great Vietnamese food.I’ve been hearing some decent reviews about Cafe 323 and so I thought it was about time I gave the restaurant a chance. Previously, this cafe was owned by a different group way back in my primary school years. The sandwich orders we’d get would come from this shop. And I didn’t realise this until many years later. Now transformed into a Vietnamese cafe style restaurant, this spacious modern establishment provides a variety of classic Vietnamese dishes at low prices.
When we were seated, I was quite surprised that tea was served from a pot instead of the normal flask. water was also provided on request like many restaurants these days. Water was not something that was normally served previously when you went to eat out at a Chinese or Vietnamese restaurant. I was quite happy that some changes were being made in the way service was provided and because these changes were good changes.
The deep fried silken tofu salad $17 (above) was something out of the ordinary for me. It was certainly not a Vietnamese dish but had an interesting taste to it. The tofu had a thin crispy tempura batter and was serviced with some salad. Although the tofu had a nice salt and pepper flavour to it, I ended up dipping my tofu pieces into my friend’s nuoc mam cham dressing for a nice sweet and sour twist.
My friend ordered Com Tam (broken rice with grilled pork) $9 (above) which is one of my favourite all time Vietnamese dishes. I didn’t order it the dish for myself because I’ve had some pretty nasty experiences with com tam and was not in the mood to be disappointed. I was wrong to be cautious though, because they dish turned out to be really nicely balanced. It was served with the nuoc mam dressing and some clear soup to help balance the oiliness from the grilled pork meat.
Overall, Cafe 323 offers you friendly staff comfortable dining chairs. Prices are moderate, tea tastes great but the food was okay. Decent but not mind blowing if you know what I mean. I would recommend to friends to check out at least once but probably not for pho or hu tieu, since I can’t validate how good those will be.