The third restaurant by Luke Nguyen et al. (including sister Pauline, brother-in-law Mark Jensen and partner Suzanna Boyd), this newbie has all the star power of its long standing big sis on Crown Street – and then some.
Think French colonial Vietnam with moody lighting, dark timber tables and bentwood chairs, comfy booths, marble bar tops and a few obligatory hanging red lanterns.
Make your way through the well-crafted menu which is broken up into entrees, mids and mains. Sample classics like prawn and pork rice paper rolls and bánh xèo (savoury crepe) with prawns, pork belly and mung beans. Or get a little more adventurous with dishes like poached chicken cabbage salad with jellyfish and goat curry cooked in turmeric and coconut milk.
Do yourself a favour – do not exit the premises without trying the coconut rice-crumbed banana fritters with caramel and tapioca sauce and ice cream. And a cà phê sữa đá (Vietnamese iced coffee) for a caffeine hit that’ll have you bright eyed and bushy tailed for hours.
If you’re looking for a more casual affair, nip out the back for a cheeky cocktail and bar snacks at the Red Lily Bar which is worth a visit in its own right.
Red Lantern lights the way on Riley.
Red Lantern on Riley
60 Riley Street, East Sydney 2000
T: 02 9698 4355
Lunch: Tuesday to Friday, 12 – 3pm; Dinner: Tuesday to Sunday, 6 – 10pm