Have you seen what has Roll’d into town? Yes, the nationwide Vietnamese street-food phenomenon, Roll’d, has set up shop in Westfield Geelong. Opening up just before Christmas, the store has had no shortage of customers. But for those of you yet to visit, what is Roll’d and what exactly does it offer? I spoke with Store Manager, Tin Ly, about this fast-growing and delicious chain.
“It’s been really good; really, really busy. We opened up in what some people say was a really good time and others say, not so good time,” he laughs. “A good time in that there was such great exposure for us from Christmas shoppers; a difficult time in that most of our staff were trainees, but they have been really good and because they have been able to deal with really busy, now that it’s gone back to normality it feels quiet to them.”
Roll’d was the resulting creation of three friends who, with the help from their mothers’ recipes, endeavoured to bring genuine, good quality and healthy Vietnamese street-food style cuisine to the Aussie people. Considering this little project began less than three years ago, its popularity has quickly spread through the land, with 17 stores throughout Melbourne and the surrounding suburbs, as well as stores regularly popping up in other states. Geelong is the first regional Victorian store to launch, and Tin tells me so far so good.
“In terms of Geelong itself, we’ve had a really positive response. I’ve been really overwhelmed with the support we’ve had from Geelong and Westfield Shopping Centre,” he says.
“It’s very different to opening a store in Melbourne because there isn’t just another one a stone’s throw away. It’s very exclusive here, we’re excited about everyone’s excitement!”
On their opening day, Roll’d gave out ‘Free B. Salads’ all day, with options including BBQ chicken, lemongrass beef, homemade pork spring rolls, roast pork and crackling and rofu and vegetarian spring rolls.
“We did the Free B. Day, which is a dish that not many people know what it is and probably wouldn’t try on their own accord, so when we gave them away and it gave everyone the chance to try it, now it has become quite popular. It’s a pretty well-rounded meal, there’s noodles, there’s salad, there’s meat. It fills you up without giving you that bloated feeling, because it isn’t a high carbohydrate meal.”
What is their most popular dish, you may ask? The famous Uncle Pho (Pho soup) and Bun Mee (bread rolls) are a big hit with customers, both of which have large selections of meat and vegetarian options to choose from.
“The Bun Mee has been really popular, even though there has been a Vietnamese bakery up the road. The Pho soup is another big hit in all our stores,” he smiles.
“We cater for vegetarians and a lot of the gluten-free stuff now as well. This is something we have really been working on over the last couple of months with our product development to really cater for that. There is a traditional Pho noodle soup which is traditionally beef – we’ve actually been able to create a vegetarian Pho. A lot of other places have tried it but they haven’t been able to master the flavour, so it’s just like a veggie soup, but we’ve added all the elements so that it tastes like Pho, but it’s actually vegan.”
It does not stop there. There are loads of other options too, including Roll’d soldiers or rice paper rolls, Banh Xeos, which is a Vietnamese savoury crêpe, as well as Classique salads, yummy rice combinations and delicious sides.
The layout of the restaurant is modern and relaxed, with the option to sit in the privacy of the enclosed restaurant tables or out on the exterior seating amongst the bustling shopping centre so you can sit back and people watch. What many fail to realise is that Roll’d is open for both lunch and dinner service; while the centre closes early during the week, the eastern entrance, under the Yarra Street walkway, remains open.
“We’ve been really pushing into the evening time. While most of the shops here close at 5.30 p.m., we are open 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 10 a.m. – 9p.m Friday, 10a.m. – 8p.m. Saturday and 10a.m. – 6p.m. Sunday. The only other drawcard at that time is the Coles next door, so hopefully people can become more aware we are open for dinner!”
Where: Roll’d – Shop 1193-1194, Ground Level, Westfield, Geelong