If you’re around East St Kilda, you might notice people walking down Carlisle Street sipping out of fresh coconuts. They’ve probably been to Mopho Canteen, a popular Vietnamese diner belonging to Adam Davis and Samarla Carey.
The three-year-old restaurant has garnered a loyal following for its $14 bowls of pho and tasty banh mi, and recently opened a second venue in South Yarra.
The new outpost is located on busy Toorak Road among boutiques and longtime restaurant residents such as Cosi and France-Soir.
The South Yarra location is more spacious than its sibling, meaning more of the same central Vietnamese-inspired food and drinks that keep the Balaclava spot jam-packed most nights of the week.
“We’ve gone all guns blazing,” says Davis. “So if it doesn’t work out, we’re screwed,” he laughs.
The menu is the same in both locations, apart from three new items in South Yarra: barbequed jumbo prawns, a pork-belly salad and a lamb and coconut curry.
Mopho Canteen’s pho – its specialty – is sweet, dark and rich, thanks to a generous amount of bone marrow used to cook the broth. There are five kinds on offer, including pho bo tai (rare beef) and a vegan, vegetable-heavy pho chay.
The menu also includes beef-brisket banh mi, pork spring rolls with nuoc cham and fresh herbs, and salads such as a seared tuna option with green papaya and lime dressing.
A tight drinks list includes mostly Victorian wines, a beer each from Vietnam (Bia Ha Noi), Japan (Asahi) and Geelong (Furphy), and a small number of cocktails, with some on offer for $10 between 5pm and 7pm.
The narrow space has a contemporary tropical vibe, with blonde-wood furniture, pops of pastel on the walls, and indoor plants. There’s an outdoor courtyard with a retractable roof, so you needn’t wait for warmer nights to settle in here with one of the fruity cocktails.
74 Toorak Road, South Yarra
(03) 9866 4910
Mon to Sun 12pm–3pm, 5pm–10pm
This article first appeared on Broadsheet on June 13, 2018. Menu items may have changed since publication.