Mopho Canteen South Yarra
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 opened its second venue in South Yarra in 2018.
The outpost is located on busy Toorak Road among boutiques and long-time 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.
The menu is the same in both locations, apart from three 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 can settle in here with one of the fruity cocktails all year round.