I was lucky to be part of three families when I was becoming an adult, my own home and the homes of two friends.
When things weren’t working out great in my family of origin or I was along way from home living in the Tropics, I was welcomed into these households like they were my own. Spending time with those families always felt like being at home. Gathered around the kitchen table with a cup of tea, a nap on the spare bed on Christmas afternoon.
The Lovely Cathy and I caught up for an early dinner and went to Aus Viet. We were welcomed into this little cafe in Hobart’s Liverpool Street mall by one of the owners, seated with caring and big smiles, and sorted with menus and kind suggestions. This Girl is a big fan of lemongrass chicken ($17) so that’s what I had. Lovely Cathy had the wonton soup ($16).
Several family and friends of the establishment stopped by to check in on us during our meal: how was the meal, did we want another drink, had we been before, did we have any suggestions for them and general chat at the table. It was comforting and welcoming.
My curry with its thick gravy was rich and spicy and delightfully lemongrassy. Cathy enjoyed her hot broth with dumplings, greens, beef and noodles.
A few others came through the establishment while we were there. A takeaway and a large group of friends who talked and shared their meals like they were at home.
When we went to pay, there was a large bunch of peonies at the counter and the owners, the Lovely Cathy and This Girl stood around briefly to chat and admire the flowers. We were told that peonies are traditionally worn by young women in China as a head dress. I have a large, close-up photograph of a peony in my own home.
When we left one of the owners hugged me. I left feeling full, like I had had a good, affordable meal, had spent time with a dear friend and that we’d experienced something I remembered from a long time ago. The group of people running this little cafe had their arms around us too and for a short time, we’d been part of their family.
Find them at 39 Elizabeth Street, Hobart (in the mall)
Check them out on Facebook – here.
You can also find their Vietnamese homemade food in the Trafalgar Centre (vegetarian) and the Cat and Fiddle Arcade (bahn mi, dessert and takeaway).