Monday, 26 March 2012

Vanidols 2012

I’ve been to Vanidols twice in the past two weeks – and twice this tried and tested old standard has validated its reputation as being the best at what it does.

When I went there two weeks ago, I enjoyed the food so much that I HAD to return soon – and did so last week.

Naturally, along with the rest of Hobart’s eating out public, I have been there too many times in the past to count, but it’s always good to return to places and see if they still provide you with the remembered pleasure you have always felt when eating there.

I’d like to deal with the pricing at Vanidols in today’s post, and make it absolutely clear that at home I cook Asian food most frequently out of all other meals. Ergo I already have all the necessary ingredients required for any Asian recipe. This means I don’t have to race out and buy anything if I’m cooking a dish that is remotely Asian – which is, I must presume, the way any Asian restaurant operates.

Hence, when I make the statement that I found the prices of the food at Vanidols surprisingly high, I am most definitely not ‘putting down’ Asian food as being inferior to other food, and thus deserving of cheaper prices. I am simply stating the fact that the prices at Vanidols are surprisingly high and I don’t really understand why.

Our dinner the other night, for two of us, for a shared entrée (platter for two priced at $18.50 per person comprising a combination of 5 starters), two mains (green curry with chicken $25.50 and a prawn pad thai $22.50), one cream-puff-sized roti ($2.50), and two glasses of coke cost me $95. It was beautiful food, and I’ll go back again, but still don’t understand why the prices are so high when I can get very similar dishes at, for instance, Ivory Café for $9 per person for a shared entrée platter of 5 starters, $12.50 for green chicken curry and prawn pad thai $15. Almost half the price at Ivory, and just as good as Vanidols.

So despite the bill at the end of the meal, I loved the food at Vanidols, and still think they retain their crown as top Asian restaurant in town.


Anonymous said...

Vanidol has run a successful business for a long time. Intact he has near outlasted every other restaurant in Tasmania. Many will come and go after a few years, but after 20 years, he is still there doing what he does best.

Cheap feeds don't make money. Unless you want to end up like the China Diner ... Which, surprisingly (sadly?) is still trading.

Try selling a $9 plate of food in a restaurant and you won't last .... By the time you factor in a heap of overheads, you'll probably lose money selling food that cheap. Sending anything (apart from side dishes) out of the kitchen for less than $10 and you are committing financial suicide as a business owner.

Your local cafe may well sell toasted sandwiches for $5 each ... Woohoo, ask the owners how much annual profit they make, and they'll most likely stare at you blankly.

As a general statement, most Asian restaurants around the place are no more over priced than their Australian competitors ....

Imagine the cost of renting a building in North Hobart. Staff costs. Insurance costs, gas, water, sewerage, equipment, fittings, stock, repairs, electricity, phone ... Heck, we pay over $200 a year to a copyright company just to (legally) play CD's on the premises.

Once you've paid your outgoings (which are usually around 150% of revenue) then you live in hope that one day the business will profit so the owner can pay himself, or eventually sell the business.

Hope I'm not too negative. Just a bunch of thoughts ....

Rita said...

Thank you Anon above, for your balanced and informed response to my genuine question. Looking at it through your eyes now, and thinking about where I will place Vanidols on my recommended best eats listing on the sidebar, it belongs in my Middle Market section along with the others like Piccolo, Syntax, RVL etc, so using the prices of those similar establishments as a guide, you are correct in what you point out.

Mark said...

There's a question been raised on Facebook - "Anyone know where I can get fresh (or frozen at a push)betel leaves in Tassie?"

Surely the collective wisdom of Rita and her followers can answer this?

Rita said...

Hi Mark - good question. I was reading a recipe the other day which asked for betel leaves, and asked myself where the hell you'd get them here? I'd obviously try Wings or Moonah Chinese shop, or maybe the Kingston or Glenorchy ones. I know Wings seem happy to help out with items they don't currently carry. The Moonah shop is one where I've been surprised with the odd items in their deep freeze which I would never have expected to find in Tassie, so that's probably where I'd start my search.

Educating the general said...

What on earth are betel leaves?

As for Vanidols, I guess Anon sums it up fairly well.

It just depends what you want really.

See, to turn over as much as vanidols, Ivory would need to deal with twice as many people. Which costs more, and takes twice as long.

Vanidols on the other hand can deal with half as many people as Ivory, and still make twice as much. That's my attitude anyway.

Put your prices up, and you'll have less whiney customers to deal with, bt make just as much, if not more profit. That's common sense in the world of commerce.

As a business owner, selling anything "cheap" is just stupid.

BTW - is Sir Grumpy alive? Haven't seen him in a while. :(

Rita said...

Thanks educating the general....Sir Grumpy? Haven't had a comment from him for ages. Maybe he is travelling, or maybe he has just stopped trawling the blogs. I DO miss him though.

Sir Grumpy said...

Sir Grumpy is very much alive, thankyou.
And always reading Rita's.
Haven't been to Vanidols in years.
I am currently working my way through the menu of a Sandy Bay establishment.
Not right now and not all on the same day, mind you.
Still recovering from an orgasmic Szechuan chilli beef with steamed rice I had the other day.
The missus let me help her finish her Singapore noodles in curry sauce,
Next visit I've targeted the chef's special chicken fried rice or maybe the crispy skin chicken, or maybe both.
Prices....around $15 a main but restuarant is nothing flash, just cafe clean and bright with great grub.
Kepp well Rita.

Fanging For It said...

To which Sandy Bay establishment do you refer Sir Grump? I could use a chilli beef orgasm.

ally said...

We couldn't get into Vanidols on Saturday night and tried Infusion instead (owned by Vanidol too I believe)
Sensational food, terrible atmosphere and I thought a tad expensive too.
But I will go back...

sir grumpy said...

I refer to the unassuming Touch of Asia, but my latest szechuan chilli beef (saturday) was a bit salty.
First time this has happened.
However, the chilli sauce on the table in a stainless steel dispenser, is home-made and WOW.
I often splash that on many of the dishes here, even the wonderful duck and crispy skin chicken. But not always.
I even buy tubs to take is sensational and a better high than even Theakstons Old Peculier!