Invercargill’s newest restaurant promising ‘Simply authentic Vietnamese cuisine’ opened in its Spey St location late last year.
Centrally located in the heart of the CBD, Viet Kitchen was established by friends Lucy, Chi and Annie Nguyen and Thanh Vo, who all felt the city needed a hint of Vietnamese flavour added to its restaurant repertoire.
Already proving a popular destination for locals, the restaurant is open from Tuesday to Sunday each week, 11am to 2pm for lunch and 5pm to 9pm for dinner.
Part owner Annie says the business is developing steadily with more and more regular customers coming in each day.
“We have been experimenting with ingredients and cooking techniques to deliver our food with the most similar taste to Vietnam,” she says.
With Vietnam and Invercargill having very different weather, there is some preservation, preparation and cooking techniques that cannot be copied over, but instead the team have adapted them to suit.
New Zealand meat is also different in both texture and flavour due to the differences in raising environments, this requires suitable changes in seasoning proportions.
“We keep adapting and finalising our recipes until we are satisfied with the quality of our dishes,” says Annie.
With a vision to introduce Vietnamese cuisine in the most authentic way possible, Lucy, Chi, Annie and Thanh have based their restaurant design on a bistro style, rather than fine dining as their best foods usually can’t be found in a 5-star restaurant, but rather the streets of Vietnam.
They strongly believe that to enjoy the food, you are better to taste it the right way, the way it is meant to be.
“The furniture and decorations all originate from Vietnam,” they say.
All close friends from various backgrounds with a fascination for New Zealand’s beauty, they all took the chance to move from Vietnam and settle in Invercargill.
The idea to sell Vietnamese-themed food came about over a weekend dinner, and the group originally introduced their concept at the weekly Farmers market. This proved so popular, they decided to open the restaurant.
“It took a lot of courage and committment for each of us to finally take the step and start bringing our vision into a reality,” Lucy says.
Lucy, Chi, Annie’s husband Marshall and Thanh’s wife Maria have all graduated from the Post Graduate Diploma in Business Enterprise (PGDiBE) with SIT.
Lucy says choosing Invercargill as her family’s second home town was one of the best decisions that she had ever made.
“Our children can study in one of the best education systems in the world and we have the opportunity to live with our passions for what we love to do.
“Since I decided to open the restaurant, my day has been filled with laughter and happiness because we have been cooking with our passion for cuisine.”