$11 lunch meal deals, yes please.
Nestled amongst the Watson Road shopping strip, sitting beside one of the last remaining NQR stores in Geelong is VN Rolls – Bakery and Café – I’ll abbreviate to VN Rolls – a Vietnamese bakery with hints of Australian takeaway shop tradition that has been moved to the wayside in previous decades.
VN Rolls doesn’t offer fine dining (or any dining at the moment due to COVID-19), a boutique experience, or a location that screams ‘exclusive’, instead it offers a humble takeaway experience to get some lunch that tastes far better than its price point suggests.
VN Rolls is becoming infamous with its lunch deals that offer too much value to be ignored. For $11 you can have a choice of 4 different lunch packs, each offering a main item, a hot side, a cake or slice, and a drink.
On this particular day, I paid my $11 (they prefer card now due to the global pandemic) and picked out my meal. I went with a Bahn Mi roll with chili, a fried dim sim, a hedgehog slice, and a can of Pasito.
Starting with the drink, VN Rolls offers a variety of drinks for visitors to choose from. Australian classics ranging from Pasito right through to a variety of brewed drinks that fulfill the ‘café’ portion of the name. A collection of cakes and slices made in house expand the menu into Australian bakery territory. The hedgehog slice had a good blend of chocolate and biscuits in the mixture and reminded me of afternoons spent baking with my grandmother. In fact, the whole place reminds me of childhood days in Footscray, with its blend of Vietnamese foods and Australian sensibilities. The dim sim is very much just that, a fried dim sim and is not worthy of mention when compared to the main attraction.
The bahn mi roll is the reason you come to a Vietnamese bakery, and these places live or die by how their rolls stack up. Suffice it to say VN Rolls offer up a decent roll. The rolls, which are baked in house, are reasonably crispy and have a nice tiger pattern on them, they might be too crispy for some, but offer a nice contrast in texture to the soft salads on the inside of the roll. The salad contains the usual carrot, coriander, lettuce, and chili, which is helped together by a serving of hoisin sauce. A sauce which also coats the perfectly cooked roast pork.
I’d say VN Rolls could go a little easier on the hoisin sauce, but I like the taste, so I don’t mind the extra helping. But really, the main attraction for VN rolls is the incredible value and variety of products they offer. Sure, you might go in for a lunch pack, but maybe your co-worker wants some fried rice, or chicken wings, maybe some rice paper rolls, a cake for later perhaps?
The incredible value is obviously what draws the mountains of people who line up each day, I visited at around 11.30 am and there was already a crowd of people – it couldn’t have been less than 15 or so – from all walks of life. Usually when I visit there’s nothing but a sea of hi-vis with all the tradespeople seeking a good value lunch, if nothing else there’s enough food in a lunch pack to keep you sustained. For $11 you’re not likely to find better value for money anywhere else, and if you can, I’d be very interested to try it out.
Check out VN Rolls Facebook here, Find them at 56 Watsons Road, Newcomb, Open from 9 am-4 pm daily except on Saturdays, closing at 3 pm and are closed on Sundays, food ranging from 3-15$