The Vietnamese word for “uncle” is used as a term of both endearment and respect even if the person addressed isn’t any kind of relation; the whole country refers to Ho Chi Minh as Uncle Ho, and if it’s good enough for the founding father of modern Vietnam, it’s good enough for the diners of suburban Melbourne. A delicious little corner of St Kilda has been transformed into an outpost of the Southeast Asian country, and it’s as authentically Vietnamese as a conical hat.
The men from Uncle are front-of-house manager Rene Spence and chef Dai Doung, and it’s the latter’s updated interpretations of Vietnamese classics – including a very popular “little guys” light bites menu – that’s been getting tongues wagging and taste buds tingling among Melbourne foodies. Foolscap Studio based their interior on the Wu Xing philosophy, balancing elements of wood, metal, fire, water and earth, and the team was helped in that last element by the nifty tableware by Fork Ceramics. Uncle is proving a popular addition to the St Kilda restaurant scene and tables are at a premium, but there’s a lush rooftop beer garden to enjoy while you wait that comes highly recommended.