05 May 2016
You had me at Vietnamese fusion…
So, I’m a sucker for 2 things when it comes to cafés. 1) Anything Asian. Fusion, straight up, I don’t really mind. 2) Cafés that don’t differentiate between breakfast and lunch. One menu fits all, most certainly fits me!
With that in mind I had 2 pretty big reasons to like this place. Their Vietnamese-German owners know how to infuse western food with their Vietnamese heritage to make the menu very far from boring. Dishes range from the more typical breakfast dishes through to full meals that would be more common on a lunch menu. BUT you can order anything off the menu all day long, or at least during their opening hours between 7.00-4.00.
It’s a sunny autumn day, so the backyard that opens on to the sidewalk is a perfect spot. There are also a few larger share tables inside. Concrete floors with warm wooden benches and large black framed mirrors give the space an industrial chic feel, with black metal stools completing the look.
The menu can be a little overwhelming when you’re hungry, as there’s a very generous amount of choice. If you’re too hungry to make a well educated decision, opt for one of their substantial juices or frappes to start. I decide on a ‘Detox Time’ with beetroot, pineapple, green apple, lemon and ginger to kickstart my morning. After reading the menu several times I ask the waiter what he recommends. He goes with the special of the day, which is a Pho. He’s unaware he’s just made my pre-selection choices of the ‘Deconstructed Banh Mi’, ‘Bo Kho baked eggs’ in a special stew with beef brisket and the ‘Viet Skewer Chicken on Black Brioche’ with mango, papaya and herbs one choice harder.
The Pho wins this round, and it turns out to be a great choice. It’s a herbaceous, spiced and tasty broth that comes with thin slithers of beef, slurpy rice noodles, something with bouncy consistency I think is a fish ball, and a side of bean sprouts and herbs to add as you please. Hoisin and a chilli garlic sauce are also provided for you to add to your taste. My favourite thing about a Pho is that it intensifies with flavour as you get to the bottom and the last sip of liquid is the best.
Deeply satisfied for experiencing a great meal, efficient and friendly service, a lovely space that is also dog friendly, I walk out. But I walk with a sense of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) on not having tried all the other great sounding dishes. Lucky then, that the weekend isn’t far away.
The short and sweet:
THE GOOD BITS: Lots and lots of options on the menu with both Western and Vietnamese inspired options that are available throughout the day.
THE NOT SO GOOD BITS: I only got to try one dish….
STANDOUT DISH: The Pho was amazing, but I’m told I need to come back for the Viet skewer chicken in black brioche.
COST PER HEAD: $25 for Pho, a juice and coffee.
Location: 67 Albion Street, Surry Hills