Maple-soaked bacon waffles, Vietnamese chargrilled chicken burgers, grilled watermelon, noodle soups and bo kho. They’re all dishes on the menu at White Taro.
It’s the first venture by a hospitality veteran, Chantel Pham (Last at Deus Ex and Labancz) and her sister, Maria van Husen.
Alongside coffee from Pablo and Rusty’s and a solid menu of omelettes, crepes and jaffles, there are sprinkles of innovation inspired by Pham’s Vietnamese roots. Where you’d usually find baked eggs there’s a converted bo kho, a savoury Vietnamese stew with pulled beef, chickpeas and eggs. The burger, black bunned and generously stuffed, contains a juicy stack of green mango, papaya and Vietnamese skewers of chargrilled chicken that are sticky from a long marination.
Of all the Viet-inspired dishes it’s the deconstructed banh mi that Pham likes most. The intricate spread, with hand-churned cumquat butter, kimchi pickled cucumber, pate and slow-roasted pork belly takes the chef almost a week to prepare.
An ex-artist and a perfectionist, Pham meticulously arranges and dresses all her dishes with edible flowers, toasted grains or Vietnamese herbs.
Tasting freedom for the first time, Pham is visibly excited to explore her craft to its edge. In the future she plans to open White Taro at night with experimental Vietnamese fusion.