It’s our go-to whenever we take Grandad out; having spent a lifetime chasing the ultra-marathoner’s physique he’s pretty particular about where he’ll eat, but he’s always up for a trip down to Point Street.
Heck, he can just about slip through the door even when they’re closed.
But we also love it because we’ve never been let down.
Even after 10 years, every meal comes through super-fast, super-fresh and super-tasty and they’re still tolerant of the kids, despite all the hooping and hollering up and down the footpath outside.
Often the kids are the only thing moving in the street, and I think it’s testament to Vivisen’s quality that they’ve put 10 years on the board when the quiet end of town has seen off a multitude of others.
On cold, dark nights they stand out like a beacon of hope and warmth.
On our last outing, as with pretty much all of them, we went with the golden honey chicken ($22.80) because it’s the ultimate kids’ dish.
All that sweet, golden crunchiness did make a side serve of greens a hard sell, but when enough had been carefully excised from the vegetables and tofu in garlic sauce ($16.80) to stave off scurvy, I let the parenting frown relax and polished the rest off.
The greens had wilted to a nice, soft texture, while the whacky-looking slices of lotus root gave it a pleasing crunchiness and the sauce was complementary rather than overpowering.
Apart from potentially a man-made moon, China’s most triumphant technological achievement is likely to be remembered as pairing crispy duck skin with plum sauce. At Vivisen it’s “twice cooked” which doubled my pleasure ($28.80).
Let’s face it, duck in plum sauce is like the grown-ups’ version of honey chicken. It’s all about a sugar hit, and this sauce was deliciously decadent, while Daffy was mostly moist and tender. A bit was a bit dry, but the serving size was so ample that wasn’t even an issue.
Grandad steadily sauntered his way through a steamed orange roughy dressed in chopped chillies and garlic ($24.80). He can be a man of few words after spending thousands of miles accompanied by only the thlop, thlop, thlop of his Nikes, so his adjectively-frugal “it’s not bad, actually” can probably be interpreted as something a bit more encouraging.
We finished off with a slice of chocolate cake. Not very Chinesey, admittedly, though a few peanuts in the base could be a post-modern nod to satay, but the kids love it and it’s a great way to finish off the night.
It doesn’t seem like all that long ago Vivisen had a bit of a touch-up to get rid of the slanty section of floorboards and some new paint, so if you haven’t been down for a while check it out.
WE love Vivisen Teahouse.
by STEVE GRANT
15 Point Street, Fremantle
Phone 9336 6699
Tues – Thurs: 11am-2.30pm, 5 – 9.30pm
Fri – Sat: 11am-2.30pm, 5-10pm
Sun: 11am-3pm, 5-9pm