Meet the UNCLE you never knew you had. It’s the contemporary Australian take on Vietnamese cuisine that has St.Kilda dining again and again. The CAPI team swooped in recently to chat with the manager Jack, recently given the keys to the castle…he’s loving it. Our man Dave Kerr talks tap beer, regularly hot librarians and learns about their next level cocktails. Peter Tarasiuk on the camera, cast your eyes below…
What is Uncle?
What is Uncle? Well, Uncle is a modern Vietnamese restaurant.
Yeah, we like to keep it casual but still professional, like upmarket sort of vibe. So, you know, we’re not fine dining, but we’re not just like an everyday restaurant either. Our food is a spin on Vietnamese classics.
Tell me about the booze
There’s a pretty heavy focus on the cocktails. All of them have a Vietnamese spin, based on other cocktails, so the “See You Bye”, is a pretty great hop that is wonderful with Tromba (tequila). It’s basically a Vietnamese spin on the Margherita, that takes us from three ingredients to about ten, we add lemongrass, chilli, mint, Vietnamese mint fish sauce and more. The two most popular cocktails would be the Ho Chi Mama and The Mekong Splice. One’s really sweet and tropical, the other is quite dry with lychees
What is the most photo worthy dish on the Uncle menu, what’s the go to?
The black wild rice is a good one. Because like it’s super dark, the rice obviously, then you have the golden egg on top garnished with a bit of black salt again so it plays back into the rice and nuts and grains also work. Otherwise, I go the slaw. It comes out with a mass of crackers and there are lots of different colours going through it. It’s a big mountain.
What’s your favourite thing on the menu?
My favourite thing on the menu is from the “Little Guys”, the entrees, it’s a Chicken Tenderloin Steamed Bao, it’s absolutely incredible. Never had anyone dislike it, and the Wok Tossed Wagyu Brisket from the mains is amazing.
That’s good. Alright, cool let’s ask you some cool questions. What’s your favourite local restaurant other than here?
If I had more than ten minutes, I’d go to Cicciolina on Acland Street.
So, good, great answer. Favourite beer on tap at the moment?
The Stomping Ground Laneway lager
On tap, they nailed it.
OK. Aprons, your aprons are pretty cool, obviously, can you tell me a tiny bit about them?
I absolutely can. So, our aprons are from Wootten, which is a cordwainer in Melbourne. Renee our boss is mates with them, naturally we rock them at both of the UNCLE restaurants.
Yes, we have a sister restaurant on Collins St in the city.
Any good regulars?
Yeah, definitely, we have regulars, like the people from the library.
Cool! Librarians, are there any hot librarians?
Yes, they’re dropping in all the time. We have a couple called Linda and Dave, they often come in. They actually have a spot at the bar, named after them because they sit there all the time. So, there’s a bit of tape behind the bar that says “Linda and Dave” and we’ve got another one that’s like “VJ”, but we’ve only recently added that one.
It’s a good sign when a venue has long-standing regulars, are Linda and Dave Librarians?
What’s your most coveted possession, on shift?
Coveted possession on shift… it’s gotta be the pen.
Gotta be the pen, gotta be the Sharpie. You gotta keep that shit close from thieving chefs man.
Keep it away from them.
What’s the best time to come in? Is there a time when it’s chilled or is it pretty much just flat out?
It’s always busy here, you’re never gonna have it to yourself, but chilling time would definitely be weekdays, during the day definitely.
Thanks, Jack, let’s tuck into this wild rice
188 Carlisle Street, St Kilda, VIC 3182
Mon & Tue 5PM – Late / Wed – Sun 12PM – Late