Red Lantern on Crown Street Surry Hills has been an institution in Sydney and now its younger sibling at 60 Riley St, Darlinghurst (opened June 2012) gives us yet another address to enjoy it's fresh and delicious Vietnamese cuisine.
The meat from the menu looks like a Feather & Bone catalogue. Traditional wholefoodies who favour pastured meat will be familiar with the providences of Gundooee (organic wagyu), Mirrool Creek (lamb), Melanda Park (free range pork) and Burrawong (organic ducks and chickens). For seafood lovers there's fresh line and wild caught fish. The vegetables (some chemical free and some conventional) are from local growers or farmers markets. The menu has 12 entrees and 12 mains (double that of Red Lantern on Crown Street).
The staff bent over backwards to point us in the direction of those few dishes that they could make without the use of industrialised (vegetable) oils: namely the fish, crispy skin duck (which was my pick of the bunch), rice paper rolls, betel leaf and various other vegetable side dishes. If you avoid anything deep fried or pan fried they will generally accommodate not using vegetable oils (if this is a concern for you I suggest making the staff aware of this at the time you make a reservation and don't expect to be able to eat anything off the menu).
On the 2 occasions I recently dined there the staff were friendly and the service was excellent. And oh, grab a cocktail at the slick Red Lily bar out the back, while waiting for your table.
Along with Longrain and Jimmy Liks, here's another restaurant I can add to my list for an Asian meal fix.
Contact details: 02 9698 4355 or click here for website.