Michael Nham and Viet Nguyen aren’t done just yet. Having last month collaborated with Nham’s childhood friend Hao Vu on opening Bowen Hills burger joint, Super Combo, the cousins have turned their attention to a new venue, Banoi – located just next door on King Street.
The Vietnamese restaurant will open at the end of April, the third outlet after two popular Melbourne editions. Nham and Nguyen grew up in the Victorian capital, eating traditional Vietnamese food made by their grandmother, Bon Thi Nguyen, who owned and ran one of Footscray’s first Vietnamese restaurants in the late 1980s. When she passed away, the cousins wanted a way to continue her legacy.
“We thought, let’s start up a restaurant called Banoi, which means ‘grandma’ in Vietnamese,” says Nguyen. “We got the family together and compiled all the recipes passed down from grandma.”
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They have developed on Bon Thi’s recipes since opening the first Banoi in 2013. The crowd favourite is the beef pho, which Nguyen says is more robust and fragrant than most other takes on the beef noodle soup. Other Vietnamese staples will feature at the Brisbane outlet: spring rolls, rice paper rolls, banh mi, as well as specialty dishes such as cold vermicelli noodle salads, savoury pancakes, and Vietnamese tacos (similar to steamed bao).
As with Super Combo, Nguyen – a qualified architect – has again joined forces with Technē Architecture + Design to create the space. He says the interior will look quite formal with plenty of timber, but with an added playfulness through some imaginative use of colour.
Banoi will open at 1A/20 King Street in late April.