Unlike its geographically explicit name, Lower Mekong’s menu is not defined by borders. While it does reflect the cuisine of the Mekong River’s Vietnamese banks, with favourites such as pho bo and Hanoi spring rolls, chef Tiw Rakarin (ex-Mama’s Buoi) serves pan-Asian accents such as black-olive naan bread with his vegetable curry.
The menu covers Laos, Cambodia and Thailand. Substantial bowls will set you back less than $15, but you can just as easily make a main meal out of the entrees. Celery and green apple cut through the bánh mì-inspired pork-belly sliders with pork-liver pâté. House-made chilli jam packs the pulled pork and prawn bánh xèo (crispy rice-flour pancakes) with a decent punch. Milo Crème Caramel is one of two desserts that round out the upbeat, fusion menu.
Drinks include Vietnamese coffee; lemongrass tea; a limited menu of Asian-inspired cocktails; Asian beers such as Singha, Tiger and Kingfisher; and one or two whites and reds.
The space, once a carpark on the old brewery site, now has floor-to-ceiling bamboo posts to lighten industrial copper elements. It feels lived-in and comfortable.