I've been meaning to visit Dandelion for ages and finally made it all the way to Elwood for a week day lunch last week.
The restaurant was not completely packed the day we visited, but still pretty busy for a Thursday afternoon at a not very commercial area.
Dandelion has a welcoming casual atmosphere with simple decor and menus cleverly used as place mats. Huge linen napkins and beautiful crystal glassware add a sophisticated fine dining touch.
We only had time for a quick lunch and chose straight from the Pho menu. There are some interesting options to choose from, like roast duck, kangaroo and salmon.
I chose the free range chicken Pho with exotic mushrooms (you won't get that on Victoria St!).
Glenloth corn fed free range chicken with exotic mushroom ($19)
The broth was clear and very subtle. Sizeable chunks of well cooked chicken were mixed with shitake, enoki and oyster mushrooms and topped with fragrant fresh coriander and Thai basil. It was served steaming hot, ideal for a cold day. Very tasty, fresh and light.
Hubby went for the duck Pho, served with star anise, ginger, foie gras and lemongrass.
Roast duck, star anise, ginger, foie gras and lemongrass ($21)
I wasn't too convinced about foie gras in Pho - it kind of defeats the point of the transparent, no visible fat broth. Having said that, the dish did taste great. Star anise, ginger and kumquat (instead of lemon) complemented the duck really well. Large slices of foie gras had an interesting texture, specially when eaten with the tender duck pieces. The noodles used here - yellow and crunch - were different from traditional Pho noodles.
It was interesting to eat and compare a traditional Pho with a very unconventional variation. They both tasted amazing in their own way.
We were overall happy with our meal; great food at a very reasonable price, good service in a lively ambiance - certainly a place that I would visit again.
As we were walking out, I couldn't help to peek at the beautiful salad served to the next table. I already know what to order next time I come to Dandelion.