18 Mar Mama’s Buoi, Melbourne CBD
Mama’s Bưởi is an interesting play on words, referring to its vision as a restaurant, and with ‘bưởi’ also being the Vietnamese word for pomelo. Opening late last year, they aim to capture the qualities and flavour profile of authentic Vietnamese home-cooking and spruce them up with different garnishes, modern plating and fresh and local ingredients.
The cocktail list is full of interesting combinations, including more savoury options like the pho cocktail, flavoured with Thai basil, Vietnamese mint, ginger, star anise and cardamon. The Viet Express had a nice smoothness to it, and the alcohol wasn’t too obvious.
Mama’s Bưởi is launching a new menu and we were invited to try a combination existing and new dishes. Our dinner started off with the pork and chicken liver pate. It was smooth, rich and altogether delicious. Crackers were provided on the side to enjoy.
Next up were the pulled duck pancakes. The light and refreshing pancakes were also filled with pineapple, picked carrots and mixed herbs and were accompanied by a honey and hoisin-based sauce.
Another of my favourites of the night were these rice noodles filled with pork, black fungus. The presence of herbs and other vegetables like cucumbers, made this dish light, yet still tasty because of the topping of lap cheong, fried shallots and fried pieces of dense bread.
The fried school prawns could be dipped in salt and pepper, wettened with the juice of lemon wedges. These were quite enjoyable and an easy crowd pleaser, but may have been nicer if they were more crispy.
Next up was the off-the-menu dish of beef rolls with Vietnamese salad of enoki, carrot and herbs, drizzled with a citrus and green chilli dressing.
Say ‘pork belly’, and you’ve got most people drooling. Each piece of roasted pork came with a nice, thick piece of crackling that was eagerly devoured.
We were privileged to try out another item that isn’t yet part of the regular menu – the canh chua, a pineapple based seafood soup. The twist to this dish was the inclusion of the crispy noodle basket. The noodles were very light, complimenting the lightness of the beautiful broth. This was a big hit.
We were also treated to a number of larger dishes: ginger chicken with onion, tomato, green shallots, sesame oil and oyster sauce; steamed lemongrass, chilli and coriander barramundi, and thit kho. The caramelised pork belly hot pot with egg was very well received, though I personally found it too sweet for my tastes. This is apparently one of home style dishes that the owners sorely misses from home.
Our meal ended with a reconstructed Chè Ba Màu (three colour drink), which had alternating layers of black jelly, pandan jelly and coconut cream, with chestnut, jackfruit and basil seeds.
Dinner at Mama’s Bưởi was definitely an eye-opener; I haven’t had much experience with Vietnamese food and I loved the freshness of the flavours. Mama’s Bưởi has a good location and is a great place for casual drinks and tasty food.
Disclaimer: I was invited to dine at Mama’s Bưởi as a guest, however, opinions expressed here are purely my own and not influenced by them in any way.
G25 Melbourne GPO
Postal Lane, near Cnr Lt Bourke St
Melbourne, VIC, 3000
(03) 9671 3426