The name seems to have changed from Tran Tran to just Tran. Feels odd just saying Tran. The first Asian restaurant I can recall visiting in Victoria Street, Richmond was Thy Thy 2. It was upstairs, loud, noisy and chaotic and incredibly cheap. We tried quite a few different places along Victoria Street over the years, but we kept returning to Tran for good food, good service and ok prices. How long have we been going there? At least fifteen years.
We had a break for a couple of years though. I am not sure exactly what happened, but our brother friends had some problem with either a drug user or dealer after we parted ways one night after our meal. They decided to not go to Victoria Street anymore, however this time they decided to relent.
Just a couple of weeks ago when R and I visited the new Daiso store in Victoria Street we were standing at the tram stop on the corner of Lennox Street and a guy was openly selling drugs. We overheard him say that his stash is a bit down the (Lennox) street to a buyer. There is obviously some police tolerance going on here but I wonder how the restaurateurs feel about it when open dealing is going on and smack heads hanging around drives some of their customers away?
To our surprise Tran has had a big makeover. It did have a repaint once before but his time it was the fully monty. The owner remembered us. Fourteen months since it has been renovated, the owner explained. The back wall is interlocking stone from Japan and he could only find specialist installers in the Victorian regional city of Shepparton. He had to accommodate and feed them while the did the job. He was replacing the acoustic tile false ceiling when he discovered a beautiful intact ceiling above the false ceiling. The plans had to be significantly altered but I am sure you think the effort was worth it. It was a chapel, he said, and it certainly looks like it was. I think he had the clerestory windows added, not sure. I couldn't get a good distance to get a proper photo of the ceiling, but believe me it is good and not out of keeping with an Asian restaurant.
Tran was still quite cheap, the food and service good, although a bit noisy but not unbearably so.
How very modern, a rusting sign at the front.
As well as the interior back wall, some of the Japanese interlocking stone tiles were used along the front.
It was bit cool this evening, but the windows at the front all open up.
The ceiling. I can't imagine the weight of it or the value of the timber.
I always have a tapioca drink at Tran. I must eat/drink it with the spoon.
Across the road is The Vic. It used to be a Thai restaurant I think. The Vic looks pretty cool. I wonder if the Mamma San who owned the Victoria restaurant set it up?